Through Glass:

The distraction factor

The latest in our occasional series about living with Google Glass comes from our own Jerry Hildenbrand, a neckbearded riddle wrapped in a West Virginia enigma.

Google Glass is no more distracting than your phone, nor is it any less

We all know that if you get caught speeding upwards of 20 mph over the speed limit and you're wearing Google Glass, you're going to get at least one ticket. And you should. Piloting 8,000 pounds of metal traveling at high speeds is a responsibility you shouldn't take lightly.

While very few are complaining about the speeding ticket that was issued in the example above, a good many people are outraged that the driver wearing Google Glass was mentioned on the citation.

I'm here to say the unpopular opinion — it should be mentioned.

The best thing about Google Glass is also the worst thing for the safety of you and the folks around you while you're operating a moving vehicle.

The content you have decided to send to your Glass is front and center, right where you can see it, and ready for you to take action on. Sure, much fuss is made about wearing Glass to the bar or any place where people fear they will be recorded, but that's a minor social issue that etiquette and society will figure out if and when wearable computing goes mainstream. Trying to drive down the road while fiddling with your email, or sending out a Tweet is another story though. Just like doing it from your phone, it's an easy way to get distracted, cause an accident, and hurt someone else.

That's not saying everything about Google Glass and driving is bad. Having Google Navigation floating above your right eye and whispering right into your ear is an excellent experience, and likely safer than trying to use a docked smartphone or the GPS in your car's dash. Having fooled with it a few times, the HUD method is the way to go here. But of course Glass can do so much more. You will be tempted to do things like text your friends, or grab a video while driving. And just like doing it with your phone, doing it through Glass is no bueno.

Once you start fiddling with things — say not-so-important things like an unanswered email from two days ago — your eyes leave the road. That slight glance up and to the right (which is how you look at Glass' screen) just might be enough to miss that bicycle making a turn. Or a family of deer who decided now was a good time to cross the road. Or a kid following their ball into the street. It's no different than looking down at your phone. And that's just the simple things. Heaven forbid you hit a snag where your phone stops providing data and you need to reset the network connection, or you think you need to read an email right away. I want to think that in those cases, a person would pull over to attend to things every time. But I know not everyone will.

I don't want Google Glass (or any wearable computing glasses that may come to fruition) to be banned behind the wheel. Navigation is clearly superior, and answering a phone call is safe and easy for the most part — certainly as safe and easy as hitting the button on your steering wheel or Bluetooth receiver to pick up the phone. I don't have the answer, but I hope someone from Google is working on this one, because turning out the product in it's current form is a sure-fire way to get it banned for use while driving.

Jerry Hildenbrand Jerry Hildenbrand

"Fascinated by things that go beep."

articles 3967 forum posts 5724

More from our Through Glass series...

articleJan 4, 2014

The latest in our continuing series on living with Google Glass. Russell Holly writes for Geek.com, is a longtime Google Glass wearer, has used Android since before it was cool, and dreams of living in a TARDIS. No, really. Google's giving us the chance to shape the future, for the (not-so) low, low price of $1,500 The smartphone, as we know it right now, is on borrowed time. Take a look at...

articleDec 28,2013

Latest in our series on living with Google Glass. Aaron Kasten is a serial entrepreneur with a passion for bleeding-edge technology. He's the founder of AndroidSWAG and the Big Android BBQ, and his latest venture is Winklogic, an app developer focused on wearables. How Google Glass led to my latest business venture I felt the Lewis Carroll “Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There...

articleDec 21, 2013

The latest in our continuing series on living with Google Glass. Jen McEwen is the Chief Marketing Officer of MiKandi.com (NSFW link). You can also find her on Google+. Google glass is awesome and nerdy and clunky and not all that practical — but it's still bringing us together​ Google Glass is a device of contradictions. It's intended for communication, but it’s hard to talk to someone on it...

articleDec 7, 2 013

Third in our continuing series on living with Google Glass. Paul O'Brien is the founder of the UK-based MoDaCo.com, a longtime smartphone hacker and developer and an all-around good guy to know. To date, Google has only made Glass available to Explorers in the United States. I’m not entirely sure why that is, it might be to do with certification, logistics, or perhaps the original idea of...

articleNov 30, 2013

Second in our new weekly series about living with Google Glass.​ 'Are those the Google Glasses things?' If you buy Google Glass, get ready to field that question. Every day. I’m not sure what’s more surprising at this point — the number of people who can properly identify Google Glass, or the number of people who have no problem asking me to confirm their suspicion. Interestingly, a decent...

articleNov 23, 2013

First in our new series of weekly columns on how we're living with Google Glass. I feel like I should be exploring something, right? That's the whole point of this Google Glass "Explorers" program. Get out into the world and do amazing things with this $1,500 space-age contraption strapped to my face. Instead, I can count on one hand the number of times I've dared to venture out of my house...

Talk Mobile
  • |
  • All Comments
Sort:
Please Login or Sign Up to make a comment.