FOX 29 Looks At Google Glass

FOX 29 Looks At Google Glass

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PHILADELPHIA -

First came the camera. Then the smartphone. Now, there's a computer you can actually wear and use.

"OK Glass. Google the hours of the Continental restaurant on Market Street," says Mike Rubillo.

Mike Rubillo is talking his computer, not his laptop, not his smartphone, no, the computer is on his face.

"This is definitely a game changer," says Software Developer Michael Rubillo.

The New Jersey software developer is part of a small group of consumers who plunked down 1500 bucks to become a so called "Glass Explorers". These are the 8,000 early adopters, hand picked by Google, to test drive it's revolutionary wearable smartphone: Google Glass.

"I've just been testing them. I've been taking them on bike rides. We took them for an airplane ride. More fun stuff now," says Rubillo.

I tried Google Glass myself. The head mounted HD camera uses a tiny optical display that shows up in the corner of your right eye.

"Make a video call to Donya Inman," I say.

Voice recognition controls everything. Are you looking for directions? Check a flight? Order a pizza? Just say the magic words: Ok glass.

"OK glass, record a video," I say.

"I think this is the start of getting us back into an upright position in our lives.Because we've sent the last 5 to 10 years staring down at our phones," says Annie Heckenberger, a Glass Explorer.

Public relations executive Annie Heckenberger with Red Tettemer Partners is working on social media applications for wearable computers. Along with great images, she found an unexpected glass benefit.

"For me it's been most fun to put them on somebody else because it's also like a childlike reaction. It's magical," says Annie Heckenberger.

We asked her to share the magic with others in Center City. What did they think?

"I feel like I'm in the future already and everyone else is just here," says a person on the street.

"This is so cool," remarks another.

But new technology breeds new issues. Number one: Privacy. Imagine a co-worker looking over your shoulder. Or even worse, what if someone in the bathroom was wearing a pair of these. Who knows what they may see.

"If someone is worried about security concerns, first I'll ask them if they have a smartphone. If they do, well they already have the same components that are in this product. So they shouldn't be any more worried than they already are," says Rubillo.

Glass already broke ground on citizen journalism. A video of a scuffle on the Wildwood boardwalk is believed to be the first arrest ever caught on Glass.

And it's videos like that one that's already forced Atlantic City casinos to ban Google Glass on the casino floor. Documentary filmmaker and founder of PRServe Chris Barrett, who provided the Google Glass videos, is also one of Google's Explorers.

In a written statement, Google responded by saying, "We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues [and] will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology."

Steve O'Connell got his glass a week ago.

"I think the most interesting thing about Glass is that is it's a signal of what's to come," says Steve O'Connell, of Red Tettemer Partners.

An advertising creative director, O'Connell says there is one big downside: getting used to the strange looks.

"Right now I personally don't think they look all that attractive. I think they look odd. They look weird. I don't think you can walk down the street without people giving you weird looks," says O'Connell.

For now, Glass is just a fun novelty for these new users. But down the road, the possibilities could be endless.

"If you are busy with your hands. So if you are a doctor. A construction worker," says Mike Rubillo. "I think another niche market for these will be learning," he adds. "A field trip without ever leaving the class."

Glass is expected to be released to the masses early next year. Google won't say how much it will cost.

"This leverages a social behavior we already have. Everybody is connected. Hyperconnected," says Heckenberger. "This makes that behavior easier."

So next time you see someone wearing these funny looking things. Don't laugh. They may just be the next big thing. And don't forget to smile.

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