Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would know what Google Glass is. A head mounted, connected device which has been touted to revolutionize the field of wearable technology. The foray of Google Glass has been met with awe and skepticism in equal measure. There have been raging online debates about its potential and/or underlying obsoleteness. Apart from the fact that using these Glasses would make you look creepy or at least as annoying as those Bluetooth headset wielding executives, there are many controversies pinning down the whole technology. App developers are churning out Apps on major platforms that specifically cater to the Google Glass users.
One such app in the pipeline is “NameTag- Don’t be a stranger” which is rumored to be launched on Android. NameTag is basically a facial image recognition app. It lets you click pictures with the Glass, examines and compares them to various social media and dating sites, and criminal databases. In a matter of few seconds it would find a match and give you a complete history of the person in front of you! The idea is a unified online profile having personal and public information like relationship status, criminal history and interests and hobbies. Your reaction to this could be of two kinds:
1. Terminator shit, so cool. (most stalkers and pedophiles would agree)
2. Has privacy issues written all over. (Just like most people should ideally react)
The app is obviously great if you want to judge a blind date who’s sitting right in front of you and you want to check his credibility. Say he turns out to be a sex offender or even a petty criminal you’d be thankful for the app. But if you do your research before the date, you’d be fine. That’s about where all the pros end. The matter of contention is obviously privacy. In a day and age where stalking is a serious problem, comes an app that provides impetus to it! Firstly, just a glance and click, and all your information could be available to a would-be offender. Secondly, there is a chance that you’d become an unwitting victim of surveillance and government snooping. There is no anonymity unless you actually use the app. There is a provision in the app wherein you can opt out. So obviously you would have to download the app, and then opt out. And the developers would be smiling all the way to the bank. Ka-Ching!
The developers have already released a beta version. And a tweet from their account claims that they were “indexing several million photos into the database”. I for one would jump at the opportunity to completely erase my digital profile before the app gets its claws on any personal information. The saving grace is that Google doesn’t allow such facial recognition software so far. So the app wouldn’t exist unofficially. But the tools are available and there is no saying that it wouldn’t be released on a less strict platform.
Want to read about more Google Glass Apps that are on Android ? Read about Google Goggles App here.