Google Glass and a New Surveillance Society

Research Question

The way our society interacts has changed because of the use of cell phones as recording devices; what will be the effect once these devices leave our hands and become a visible part of our body?

So What

On March 3, 1991, Rodney King was pulled over and brutally beaten by a group of Los Angeles police officers. The officers were unaware that they were being recorded by someone from the balcony of their home. This footage quickly got national coverage and led to the conviction of two of the police officers involved in the beating. This incident led to people, primarily people in power, being more aware that their actions could be recorded and used against them. It helped prove that we live in a surveillance society, where everything we do has the potential of being under surveillance. My area of research is the possible societal effects of Google Glass. Since this product is brand new, this leaves me a lot of room to add new information to the conversation. Most of the information that has been provided on my topic right now is from the developers themselves, so much of it will be biased because they are trying to sell the product. I hope to add information new information on this topic, since there isn't very much diversity, and to explore the potential impact of this new technology on our society. My biggest contribution is trying to make people more aware of what effects this product may have on social interactions and the surveillance that may be practiced on users of this product. The effects could be good or bad, on one hand people could use Google Glass to record people at inappropriate times, it could be a dangerous distraction while driving, and it is just another way we are becoming more reliant on electronics, but on the other hand the possibilities of self-policing could be beneficial. With people being more aware that they could be recorded, they would be less likely to do anything that they wouldn't want anyone else to see. My point is: would Rodney King have been beaten if he had been wearing Google Glass?

Primary Material

There are a couple main primary materials that I will be using for my research on the possible societal impacts of Google Glass. The first primary material is any information posted directly from Google. This includes things posted on their social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and YouTube; official press releases regarding new features, developments, release dates or other related information; and info they are sharing on their official webpage. I will be using this primary material to basically get the gist of what Google Glass is actually going to do, cost, and how someone could purchase one. I will mostly be getting only the basic information on the glasses themselves from this source because is the most reliable when it comes to information about the physical product but it is also the source with the potential for being the most bias since they are trying to sell the product.
The second primary material I will be using is what other people are saying about Google Glass in internet articles, videos, and social media. This material appears to be secondary, and it would be if I was using the information they provide to back up my research, but I am not using it to obtain information about the product. I am instead using these sources to infer how people feel about Google Glass, and how it may affect people once the product is released.


Primary Material Analysis

The videos above are some of the best sources of information I found on Google Glass. They are advertisements posted by Google displaying different people using Google Glass in different ways. The videos only show positive images of happy people doing happy things with family and friends and none of the negative possibilities. But that is because they are advertisements. Google is trying to sell a product and they want to show how good it is. Although these videos are biased, they gives a lot of good information on what the product can do. In the videos it displays a first-person view of what it would look like to wear Google Glass. The time is basically always displayed like on a cell phone. People are shown taking videos and pictures, sending messages, participating in video conversations, searching the internet, checking the weather, and following map directions. These are many of the features that Google has announced. From following their updates and announcements I was able to find out that Google Glass will be released to the public sometime in 2014 with a price tag somewhere between $200 and $600. So that is the basic information about Google Glass, but how do people feel about this technology, and what are they saying? Mostly people were excited about this amazing new product and are curious about how and when they can get one, but I also found a lot more skepticism than I expected. There were many articles and posts that I found that talked about the possibility of car crashes, broken relationships, and invasions of privacy by individuals and Google. I was glad that people were looking at the possible negative effects as well as the positives. I've included two videos that offer views on the side of the benefits and the dangers, as well as a funny one that could have some sad truth to it.



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