Could Google Glass Have Solved the Boston Bombings?

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Google started delivering the first batch -- probably a few hundred, at the most -- eyeglasses to the earliest adopters this week. Production and sales will ramp in stages in the coming weeks and months until they become generally available sometime within a year from now.

Now, imagine that we could shift some parts of history by a year or two. Imagine that most people in public this week were wearing Google's eyeglasses, recording all audio and video almost all the time.

Let me suggest this: The case of the Boston bombings would have been solved within minutes, perhaps seconds. With hundreds or thousands of people wearing Google glasses, hardly one movement or word acted or spoken in public would have remained unrecorded. There would be no mystery as to who did it.

There were already a few photos and videos of the event, you say. Well, obviously too few, too little, too far away, too late. Using smartphones and other cameras, most people simply don't record all the time. Fixed rooftop cameras: Too few, too low-quality, too far away. Too little data, too much uncertainty.

With Google's eyeglasses, recording will not be a burden, so why not leave them on all the time? The quantity of film and audio tape would multiply by many decimal points. People walk and stand very close to each other, and the audio may be as revealing as the video.


Imagine a group of 100 or 1,000 people on a city block recording audio and turning their heads while wearing Google glasses: There would be nothing left undiscovered by a forensic team. A perp would have to be silent (leaving no voice print) and wear a face mask or some other face-altering makeup. It would be a lot more difficult to escape the abundant video and/or audio evidence.

I have written before about the creepy impact -- some would say negative -- resulting from everyone wearing Google's eyeglasses. But there is a positive side, too, and that is -- at a minimum -- crime prevention and resolution.

Once most people start wearing Google glasses, there will be zero privacy in public. Everything you do in the presence of another person -- walk, talk, just stand there -- will be a matter of a database search. Meeting someone at a cafe just to chat in private? Forget about it. Several people wearing Google glasses will have recorded it -- audio and video.