Google Glass round-up: Safe for burning buildings. Maybe in the bedroom. Apparently not in movie theaters

Here’s a few stories today that address the question:  Where should you wear Google Glass?

Would you wear Glass inside a burning building?  From Google comes the story of Patrick Jackson, a firefighter and software developer in Rocky Mount, North Carolina, who’s creating specialized Glassware apps to use on the job. And a video released by Google shows how useful the device’s hands-free display and Internet connection could be for someone who enters burning buildings on a regular basis.

Jackson is already using Glass to get updates from emergency dispatchers, driving directions to emergency scenes and information about the location of nearby fire hydrants.  He’s also working on apps that would show the wearer floor plans and exit locations – handy to have when you’re entering a distressed building – and schematics for vehicles that can be used to show the right point to apply power tools such as the “Jaws of Life,” when rescuing trapped motorists or passengers.

Okay, how about wearing Glass in the bedroom?  From the British newspaper The Guardian, we learned today about some developers in London who are building an app called “Sex with Glass.” The idea is to use the device’s camera and Internet connection to live-stream what you are seeing during those intimate moments, so your partner can see the view from your eyes, and vice-versa.

Yeah, that might give some people pause. Developer Sherif Maktabi acknowledged to the Guardian that this may not be for everyone:

“Some people find what we do repulsive,” Maktabi says. “But a lot of other people – and I am basing this from the emails we are getting online – really desire to try this. People have fantasies, desires and needs. It’s personal.”

Apparently, they’re also working on features that would allow the wearer to turn room lights and music on or off, and even to watch a replay of the videos later – if that’s your thing. It should be noted that Google has banned pornography in Glass apps, and it appears this app is being developed without the company’s sanction.

Finally, even if you’re brave enough to wear Glass in a burning building, or in the bedroom, you may want to think twice before wearing it into a movie theater.  The Gadgeteer blog reports on the story of a Glass wearer who was yanked out of an Ohio cinema and interrogated by badge-wielding officers (they claimed to be federal agents but their actual employer is unclear) who seemed convinced the wearer was making a pirate recording of the film, “Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.”

The Glass-wearer insisted he wasn’t doing anything of the sort. The device’s camera wasn’t activated, but he was wearing it because it contains his prescription lenses. According to the man, who is not named in the account:

“What followed was over an hour of the “feds” telling me I am not under arrest, and that this is a “voluntary interview”, but if I choose not to cooperate bad things may happen to me (is it legal for authorities to threaten people like that?). I kept telling them that Glass has a USB port and not only did I allow them, I actually insist they connect to it and see that there was nothing but personal photos with my wife and my dog on it … (B)ut they wanted to talk first. They wanted to know who I am, where I live, where I work, how much I’m making, how many computers I have at home, why am I recording the movie, who am I going to give the recording to, why don’t I just give up the guy up the chain, ’cause they are not interested in me. Over and over and over again.”

Someone finally showed up with a computer and USB cable, which they used to review the contents of his Glass and verify that he was in fact telling the truth, according to the man’s account.  When the interrogation finally ended, the man said, he was given four free passes to a future movie, but no real apology.

Since this story surfaced, other blogs have attempted to contact the movie theater management, with no response. (UPDATE: The AMC chain confirmed the episode in a statement to Business Insider.) The Glass-wearer, who described the experience as both embarrassing and frightening, said he’s thought about suing but doesn’t want the bother.

Instead, he concluded that: “I guess until people get more familiar with Google Glass and understand what they are, one should not wear them to the movies.”

(Image of Firefighter Patrick Jackson via YouTube) 

 

Brandon Bailey Brandon Bailey (279 Posts)

Brandon Bailey covers Google, Facebook and Yahoo for the San Jose Mercury News, reporting on the business and culture of the Internet.