“OK, Glass.” It’s the phrase that you may be hearing a lot more of in the very near future, and it’s the phrase that’s influencing the next technological generation.
The “Google Glass and Wearables: What All Journalists and Newsrooms Should Know (And Test)” session took place Saturday morning, and presenters demonstrated the upcoming Google Glass device along with a few other gadgets.
The next wave of technology is on the horizon, and the term to know is “wearables.”
Small, discreet and unintrusive is a staple of this generation, and the nature of these devices begs many questions for journalists that have yet to be fully answered.
Smart watches are already available. Developer kits for the Oculus Rift, a virtual reality device, are ready to purchase. Apple is expected to unveil the company’s first foray into wearable computing with a formal announcement slated for Tuesday.
“This is not sci-fi,” Hernandez said. “It’s real stuff.”
Google Glass has a use in nearly every industry, but journalists, in particular, can see the value in these devices have for the future of news.
Hernandez showed clips of Google Glass already in action. A VICE reporter live-streamed the streets of Ferguson in the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown, and the wearable gave a raw perspective of the chaotic streets of the Missouri town.
“It’s a different way to capture a story and a different way for [the audience] to see it,” Cherry said.
The implications spread even deeper from there. While potential is boundless for these devices, there are ethical questions that are being raised by experts.
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The current Google Terms of Service Agreement for user stipulates that the corporation may retain rights to user data and content accessed through certain Google services. Content ownership and access issues remain hazy for many of these products during these early days, which may present concerns for journalists hoping to incorporate the technology into their reporting.
“Could I take a picture of a person without them noticing?” Hernandez asked the audience. “What’s the ethical thing about that? I can capture any moment, which is incredibly powerful.”
The device, which remains in the beta stage, currently retails for $1,500.
As the future tides of technology seemingly trend toward these wearable products and their vast news reporting potentials, questions continue to linger for journalists about the value of experimenting with these devices. Will the investments made now, provide tangible difference in the future?
“A lot of these ideas aren’t fully baked, and there’s a lot of questions still being asked,” Victor explained. “But having that working knowledge is half the battle.”