By the time you read this, I expect to be en route back to Oklahoma wearing new technology that's not yet for sale to the general public — glasses made by Google that put the Internet and mobile applications right in front of our eyes.
The glasses are really not glasses but contain a tiny computer worn on your face that does — or will do in the future — many of the things your smartphone can. It can take pictures, record video, run apps and pull information from the Web. The device is called Google Glass, singular, and the tech-world frenzy surrounding it has spilled over into mainstream discussion about privacy issues and the future of technology.
I get to try out the device because Google accepted my application in February on the social media sites Twitter and Google Plus. To apply, I had to say what I would do “if I had Glass.” So now, I'm one of about 8,000 “#ifihadglass Explorers” picked by Google to buy the device early. Preceding my group by just a few weeks were 2,000 developers, who signed up at a Google conference last year.
It's too early to tell if Glass will change the world or even if wearable technology sticks around in this form or another, like a smart wristwatch. But so far, these glasses have been well-received in the tech community and beyond. There's also a lot of excitement among those of us who haven't had or seen the device until now.
And from what I've read, Google has tried to address privacy concerns and people's fears about being secretly recorded in public, although smartphones and other camera devices can do the same things today. The company has already banned any apps that use facial recognition software from Glass.
Many people applied to get Glass with big dreams and grandiose plans for using the device — among them are artists, musicians, travelers, entrepreneurs, doctors and — of course — tech people. They want to inspire, market, develop, experiment, explore, capture and share the world through the lens of Glass.
They include people from throughout the United States who said they wanted to do things like: save the world; perform neurosurgery and consult with other doctors outside the operating room; showcase nonprofit work; go skydiving; climb Mount Everest and create superpowers with the device.