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All posts tagged Google Glass


Snapholes: this is the phrase that came to mind…

..On reading Snapchat’s announcement about their new Spectacles. Yep, Snapholes. In addition, Snaphole-in-chief, Evan Spiegel has rebranded the company as Snap. The company is now defined as, “a camera company”.

Snap rebrand - Snapholes

We all remember Google Glass, right?

Google Glass were the pioneers of wearable glasses with photographic (and AR) capability but it was invasive, obtrusive and left one with the uncomfortable sensation that you were interacting with the Borg v1.0.

Glass became a kind of exclusive club to the point that they earned the tag Glassholes. No explanation necessary. Ultimately Google decided that Glass was not ready for mainstream consumer purchase and decided to pull the AR / photographic wearable. Rumors abound of a replacement product that integrates all the lessons learned.

GoogleGlass - Snapholes

Meanwhile Snapchat, who have steadfastly done their own thing launch sunglasses that take video and upload it to Snapchat wirelessly (wifi or Bluetooth depending on OS).

Snapchat who have never implemented usability / UX features that would have killed lesser apps, have pivoted into an advertising platform with some kind of limited API.

Snapchat who have blocked all 3rd party development after some unfortunate security breaches. Locking down their platform to 3rd party development instead of creating actual, robust security.

Somehow Evan Spiegel and Snapchat can do no wrong.

The Warptest POV

Are Snapchat marching down the same path to failure as Glass? Will Snapholes become the tag du jour for all those wearing Snap Spectacles? Most important, how will you feel the first time someone is wearing these in your proximity? How invasive can Snapchat get without workplaces, public and private venues banning these? Will some bright spark come up with a way of obfuscating faces video’s by Snap?

Snapchat has been pretty bulletproof until now and to be fair, the funky looking Spectacles are less intrusive looking than Google Glass ever was. The Spectacles video in a 115-degree view at the tap of a finger with a light indicating to those around the wearer they are being filmed.

At the end of the day these glasses do one thing and camouflage that very well, disguised as sunglasses. This maybe the one thing Google never really grasped with Glass. Whilst AR / photo-enabled glasses are cool and cutting edge you don’t need to create an environment where the very tool you are promoting creates unease and becomes a barrier between the user and those around them.

Versus this…

Spectacles by Snap - Snapholes

So, what do you think? Snapholes or not? Is one of you tinkering away at their keyboard with some kind of malware injection activated by video capture in the works or are you just stopping at the toy store for a fake mustache to wear when you see the Snapholes coming?

Last Week I Heard Robert Scoble Speak About Wearable Tech…

…the event was hosted by Google Tel Aviv as part of their Campus Talks series.

Robert Scoble Campus TLV Event

The talk was engaging and all about Wearable Technologies. @Scobleizer as he is known on Twitter filled the room with his personality as much as the crowd there to hear him speak.

Rober Scoble Wearable Talk

Some of the things I took away from the talk were: –

  • Wearables are here and the technology works.
  • People will opt in even at the cost of their privacy for the benefits they gain.
  • Services are mostly supported in the high population density areas like downtown urban centers.
  • Security is not about opting out it’s about the implicit social contract between users and companies built on trust and transparency.
  • The streams of data involved here are massive but each service is an ecosystem in its own right.

This being held at Google there were obviously Google Glass wearers there. One more take away from the talk was that Glass is version 1.

The camera unit design needs to evolve so it doesn’t come between the wearer and other people they are trying to converse with.

The Warptest POV

Wearable technology has incredible potential which we have only begun to realize. Robert Scoble evangelizes this niche enthusiastically and with a great deal of personal knowledge.

One thing that occurred to me after hearing about the miniscule sensors involved in this that I have thought again and again,

“Much of technological evolution in the late 20th and 21st Century owes a huge thank you to Star Trek.”

The big question is where will we be when flipper communicators, stun gun phasers, wireless medical tricorders and other inventions actually exceed the forward thinking of the show / movies?

I would even go one step further regarding Google Glass, perhaps the dislike many have for Glass wearers is due to the subtle, visual association with cyborgs like the Borg.

Google Glass Unfairly Compared To Borg

Personally, I’m fascinated by Glass not disturbed but it clearly has some iteration to go.

In a nutshell, Wearable tech is turning us into vast, mobile data sources. Those who avail themselves of this technology will be more exposed but will also reap the benefits.

If nothing else Robert Scoble is clearly our Captain Kirk, boldly going where no-one has gone before (with respect to Wearable Tech).

Are you going to follow him?

Microsoft You Know I Have Special Place In My Heart For You…

But it’s time for me to tell you something you really need to hear…

Microsoft Motivation

Tough Love

You know what awesomeness is, you know what innovation is and you even know what the consumers want…

But you need to keep up and not just keep up but accelerate and outstrip the competition.

This week is MWC (Mobile World Congress) and let’s be honest, everyone and their cousin are going to be breaking out new tech.

I hope, I really hope that you’ve been attentive and stealthy. That you spent the last year creating killer wearable tech to compete with Google Glass, assorted OEM and the expected Apple Smartwatches.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Warptest POV

Steve Ballmer proclaimed in his One Microsoft revamp of the company that,

“Going forward, our strategy will focus on creating a family of devices and services…”

If Microsoft is a real device oriented company (and with Surface, Xbox and Windows Phone have no doubt it is) then I can only assume that a smart market watcher at Microsoft pushed hard for a stealth Surface Wearable’s department to be created to make a product that competes now in this market.

I’ve spoken about Kinect everything integration in the past but a Microsoft wearable with New Windows UI that integrates with and supports Windows Phone or Xbox is something that needs to launch this week at MWC and not like Windows Phone arrive late to market and claw its way into the market after the fact.

Microsoft Surface Watch

So Microsoft like I said, you still have that special place in my heart but don’t disappoint me and show me, show all of us that you get the idea that…

Late innovation is no innovation at all.

Elton John and Kiki Dee via Youtuber GPITRAL0

To clarify, I don’t care if it’s a watch, glasses, a monocle or something else but get stuck in there and invade this market now, NOT in 2 years time.

Do you believe Microsoft will surprise us this week at MWC with Surface wearable tech?


Startups By Their Nature Are On The Cutting Edge…

… Some get acquired and in my previous post I mentioned Waze and their acquisition by Google. I suggested that Google could leverage drone technology to enhance the real-time geo-data provided by Waze.

This led to a fascinating conversation on Twitter with one of my favorite tweeps
@AWSOMEDEVSIGNER on the controversy and challenges related to drone usage in the civilian domain.


Real World Tech, Real World Consequences

When people create new technologies or find new uses for existing tech, especially in our daily lives in the real world there is a question that has to be asked,

What are the ramifications of releasing our idea into the world unfettered?

In a lot of cases the legislature is not able to keep up with the need for new laws to address these issues. Google Glass is a classic example, should it be legal to drive whilst wearing and using Glass? Should the law require all wearable technology that requires user interaction (read distraction) to have a Driving Mode?

In the case of Glass a user in California was already issued with a ticket for driving whilst wearing Glass (the ticket was allegedly contested and thrown out on a technicality) meanwhile, NYPD are beta testing Glass , but under what constraints and conditions?

A hat tip to the awesome @OrenTodoros for directing me to Google’s Do’s and Don’ts for Glass.

In some cases just how easily can certain innovations be weaponized or used for malicious intent? Foursquare had to contend with privacy and stalking concerns and seems to have done so admirably.

You don’t have to look hard to see that cutting edge technology will always be ahead of legislation. Several TV shows have made the issue of technology and ethics a core part off their story e.g. Intelligence or Almost Human.

Intelligence - Startup Ethics
Almost Human - Startup Ethics

With thanks to IMDB for the images for each show above.

The Warptest POV

Do the Startups have a moral responsibility to consider the ramifications of their innovations before opening Pandora’s Box? Will a failure to do so eventually result in more draconian legislation in reaction? As a result of my conversations (as mentioned earlier) IMHO Startups should be considering then need for a senior member of the company, even a VP of Ethics to research these ramifications and raise concerns early in the design stages.

By working with the Product Manager, even guiding the Testing team to include tests to ensure not just functional but ethical quality a Startup that is launching a technology into the real world and our daily life is more likely to find best practice and prevent privacy invasions, data leaks, malicious abuses and other ethical problems.

So if you are reading this and you are building a Startup, do you have role in your company to confront the ethics behind your innovation?

Don’t be shy now, let me know what you think.