The jailbreaking of Google Glass (glassbreak?) is good, and bad. For those who remember back in the iphone1 days, there was all this panic that it would open the door to massive abuse, the phone could be bricked and even the whole network can be taken down … Still waiting for that to happen. Instead, innovation on the iphone skyrocketed. Programmes on the jailbroken iphone 1 were FAR beyond anything I’m sure the creators imagined. Recording and live streaming video, get your location on the map (it used cell tower doppler, but better then nothing) change the background.. heck change lots of elements of the UI, play Quake (Yes Play Quake!) …
So the same with Google Glass. Now that Jay Freeman (saurik) has published his jailbreak hack, the sky is the limit on what this new technology can do. I would expect expanded voice control, Augmented Reality, card counting, quick reference when gaming, facial recognition with CRM display cards, etc.. Great right? Well, not so fast. One of the biggest complaint with GGlass is the lack of privacy. I live in Mountain View so I have seen my fair share of GGlasses walking around. Every time I see someone waring one, I want to get out of the camera’s line of site. I do not like the idea that I can be filmed at anytime. It feels like a violation of social convention. With a hacked device, someone could be filming me as we chat or just standing nearby as I chat with others. I’m not as private a person as some people, but I do have an aversion to being approached when I’m trying to relax and socialize with people I do not get time to see. So knowing that someone walking around with a device that gives them an unfair advantage to know who I am, what I do and record every element of our interaction simply turns me off. I can see being at an event and if someone comes up to me waring GGlass the first thing I will tell them is to please take them off.
I’m not the first to say this. There are plenty of places the GGlass is already unwelcome for many of the reasons I listed. Want to gamble? Nope, take those things off. I expect the list of places where the GGlass and similar devices are restricted will grow. Have a look at this video of Scoble via TNW on privacy. (see vid at the end of this post) One thing he said that I was already thinking was MAD. Mutually Assured Destruction. For those too young to remember the Cold War, this implies that if you use GGlass inappropriately, someone else waring GG or similar device will record you being a prat. This argument makes no sense because that only matters if the person performing the infraction cares if you film them much less if you have the reach to make your reporting effective. However, being called out in public just might.
Now that being said, I think GGlass used in the correct setting can be great! Just listen to Robert Scoble and you will get the cheerleader of cheerleaders. And I share his excitement to a certain extent. As a musician, this will be one of the best things for the memory challenged since wireless mics. I dream of playing a show and having not only my playlist, but lyrics accessible by just looking up to the right. BTW, if someone at Google reads this and want to send me a test unit, I write the code for this. :) I can see everyday use as well, I can have step by step as I’m working on my car, or cooking something new, I can be sitting outside and get a important messages (using really strong filters), reminders from my calendar or see who is calling me. One of the reason I got the Pebble … Still waiting for it BTW. Although I do not ride nearly as much as I used to, I can see this being an almost required item for bikers and motorcyclist, although like most things, it can be a distraction as well, so use with caution.
And this brings us full circle back to jailbreaking. GGlass is intended to be a closed system. I can see a restriction that it will not work when driving, but a jailbreak hack can take care of that. And full disclose, I would totally do that if I start riding again and would ware it driving as well. Since GGlass is in the upper right, it’s not in your full view and also its not always on, so I think its fully safe, but I KNOW people will not be responsible using GG and thus cause accidents.
Whatever controls or limits that Google will put into the GGlass, like indicators someone is recording you, or the 10 sec limit, a jailbreak will get around it. And as Robert pointed out, this is not something that can be stopped. The genie is out of the bottle and we will have to live with this new reality of people being able to record in secret. But as with people tweeting everything they do, or checking cell phones while in social situations, society will monitor itself and enforce rules of engagement, but believe me, this is only the beginning, there is no turning back.