As we inch closer to the 2014 release date for Google Glass—the search giant’s innovative new “smart glasses”—tech journalists and app developers are going wild
with reviews, articles and ideas for third-party applications for the wearable technology. One of Glass’s touted features is its ability to take high-resolution pictures and videos. These first-person images and movies could change the way we use photography. Some in the industry are welcoming it, while others are threatened by it.
At GigaOM’s Structure:Europe conference, Facebook’s infrastructure engineering vice president Jay Parikh said that the social network stores at least 220 billion images, making it the largest image-hosting service on the Internet. Social networks like Facebook and Instagram are wildly popular for image-sharing with friends and family, and Glass would only make these networks stronger… if it wasn’t owned by Google.
Because Google also owns its own social network, Google Plus, built-in sharing integration will detour more popular networks and go straight to Plus. This could have serious implications for Facebook if every picture taken on a pair of Google Glasses goes straight to its native social network.
Glass has two unique advantages: first-person perspective and a ready state. Because they’re worn on the face and don’t need a free hand to operate, Glass can snap images similar to what a head-mounted GoPro might capture during extreme sports (a popular use for the camera). Glass is also in an ever-ready state to grab a picture. Its voice-activated features let the photographer prepare for any opportunity without bringing a camera up to the face.
A New Perspective
Even before public release, athletes and celebrities are making good use of the Glasses that Google gave and sold to developers and testers. Here’s a video of Oakland Raiders punter Chris Kluwe wearing them during practice (some inappropriate language):
Imagine an NFL game where all 22 players on the field were equipped with Google Glass (or a better version in the future), and media and fans both had access to every perspective. The pictures and video from those games would be unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Amateur Photography and Video
The quantity of pictures we take with Google Glass will certainly increase, but what about the quality? We already discussed the unique first-person perspective and the ready state, but Glass could also bring a new level of candidness to amateur photography. Think back to the last time you took pictures with the family for the annual Christmas card—all gathered and posed in front of the fireplace for a picture that looks great but is obviously staged. Now imagine recording, from your own perspective, family laughing around the dinner table and pulling an image from that video. The next round of cards ordered on a site like Minted.com will have a uniqueness and genuineness to them.
Google Glass doesn’t hit the market for consumers until 2014, so most of this is speculation. But no matter what the degree, it’s certain that Glass will change photography.
Photo by Flickr user tedeytan