John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Schmidt: Talking to Google Glass Could Make You a Spectacle

Steve_Martin_JerkGoogle has long had a “creepy line” that it likes to approach without actually crossing. But with its new Google Glass, it’s really tottering on the edge.

That’s the gist of Eric Schmidt’s latest comments on Google’s forthcoming facephone, whose launch the company is approaching with quite a bit of circumspection. Speaking at an event Thursday at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, Schmidt said Glass requires a rethinking of social etiquette, and a heavy curative hand from Google with Glass app developers.

“There are obviously places where Google Glasses are inappropriate,” Schmidt said. “It’s so new, we decided to be more cautious.”

Wise move, and not just from a public relations standpoint, but from a regulatory one, as well. If Glass draws the same sort of scrutiny as Street View, even a single privacy misstep could very quickly turn into a grueling nightmare.

“We want to be very careful that this sort of new invention is not misused,” Schmidt said later. “It’s already been banned in Las Vegas casinos. They haven’t even seen it. I’m always concerned about premature regulation based on fear, as opposed to understanding what’s possible.”

Certainly a legitimate concern, given Google’s history.

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I think the NSA has a job to do and we need the NSA. But as (physicist) Robert Oppenheimer said, “When you see something that is technically sweet, you go ahead and do it and argue about what to do about it only after you’ve had your technical success. That is the way it was with the atomic bomb.”

— Phil Zimmerman, PGP inventor and Silent Circle co-founder, in an interview with Om Malik