Do We Really Want Google Glass In Our Bedrooms?

March 28th, 2014 § 0 comments

Google is working hard to develop all the possible uses and benefits of its latest gadget, Google Glass. Also known as ‘The Glass Project,’ this gadget is wearable tech – worn like a pair of glasses – that gives the wearer access to the digital world at eye-level whilst also enhancing the wearer’s view of the real world.

As Google is keen for others to explore possible uses for this technology, the company hosted a day-long hackathon in London which gave students at London’s Central Saint Martin’s art college the chance to come up with ideas.

Since then, they have been working on a project that takes Glass to a whole new level, into our bedrooms and our sex lives.

The project started off with the question ‘how can we make sex more awesome with Google Glass,’ says Sherif Maktabi, the founder of the project. The answer Maktabi and his team came up with was shared live streaming and voice controls connected to your home.

During the hackathon, which was held in November 2013, Maktabi got to ‘play’ with Google Glass and come up with some ideas. He was immediately drawn to the notion of ‘Sex with Glass.’

The cornerstone of ‘Sex with Glass’ is the shared live streaming: ‘See what your partner can see… Just say “OK glass, it’s time” and Glass will stream what you see to each other. And if you feel like stopping everything, just ask: “OK glass, pull out.”’

‘Some people find what we do repulsive,’ Maktabi says. ‘But a lot of other people – and I am basing this from the emails we are getting online – really desire to try this. People have fantasies, desires and needs. It’s personal. What they do with that is up to them. Guilt, dogma and shame is something we still widely experience when it comes to sex and how we talk about it.’

As well as providing live streams, the app also records the action but the video is deleted after five hours. If users want to go totally Matrix, it’s also possible to link the app up to your home, which means lights and music can also be controlled by voice commands. Anyone who needs a little inspiration can call on an in-built Karma Sutra file loaded onto the app.

Needless to say reaction to the app has been mixed. While Maktabi is adamant that the app does what it says on the tin: enhance sex, many people are concerned by its limited view, potential breach of privacy and biased advertising.

One of the main concerns people are asking is, ‘why would I want to see myself during sex?’ And more worryingly, is this kind of data collection just providing covert agencies with new opportunities for breach of public privacy. What’s next? The National Sex Archives?

Plus the advertising campaign that promotes ‘Sex with Glass’ only features heterosexual couples and has some odd taglines such as: ‘You’ll be able to watch your videos for five hours until they are deleted forever. That’s for all the ladies out there.’ Great idea! After all, it’s well known that women like to lie around for hours watching videos of themselves having sex?

While Maktabi and his team push on with the development of ‘Sex with Glass,’ policy at Google HQ may thwart their efforts sooner than expected. Back in June 2013, Google updated its policy with regard to apps that contain sexual content.

The new policy reads: ‘We don’t allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Google has a zero-tolerance policy against child pornography. If we become aware of content with child pornography, we will report it to the appropriate authorities and delete the Google Accounts of those involved with the distribution.’

The app that prompted this policy change from Google is an app called Tits & Glass, made by adult company, Mikandi. The idea for this app is similar to Maktabi’s insofar as it allows users to share experiences through live streaming along with some other creative features.

However, MiKandi co-founder Jennifer McEwen said in an interview with Mashable magazine that although the porn industry has been quick to adapt to emerging technologies, levels of innovation have slowed in the last few years.

‘The old adage that porn drives tech is sadly no longer true,’ she said. ‘Over the last decade, adult companies have seen themselves locked out of more and more technologies and services — the latest being mobile applications. Adopting new technology is costly and time consuming, so it’s no wonder why some in the industry have become risk adverse.’

Despite these concerns the porn industry is looking for ways to marry their services with future developments at Google.

‘The reaction to Google Glass has been 50/50 between companies such as MiKandi, who see the potential of this new device and plan to develop products for it, and those who prefer to wait and see,’ McEwen said. ‘We’re excited at the possibilities Glass holds for more interactive applications as the technology matures.’

Clearly Maktabi and his team at St. Martin’s College are excited too, perhaps a little too excited.

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