Thursday, 22 August 2013

A New Google Glass App Gets Us One Step Closer To Robocop

Google Glass, the high-tech eyewear that gives you an Internet-connected screen in front of your eyeball wherever you go, might have applications that could go beyond seeing if your new date has a criminal record on the fly. It could also help emergency professionals better protect the public. Mutualink, a communications company, is showing off a newly developed app that could help police, firefighters, and paramedics gather information and communicate more effectively.
When first responders arrive at the scene of a crime, fire, medical emergency, or disaster, they can deliver information to headquarters through Google Glass rather than radio. They can also instantly receive vital information like building plans, medical information, and security camera footage. In other words, first responders could have access to virtually anything they want to know; instantly, giving them the power to do their jobs more effectively.
This new possible application of Google Glass probably pleases the devices backers over at Google, who may still be unsure of how the public at large will receive the face-mounted gadget once it’s available to the public next year. Even if the product becomes a flop with tech-heads, it might still get significant use from emergency professionals and other people who could benefit from sending and receiving a constant stream of information. This scenario is essentially what happened to the Segway, which didn’t become the blockbuster product that many people expected, but still found a market with security and tourist companies.

Privacy Concerns

However, not everyone is 100% pleased with the prospect of every police officer having a hyper-advanced communications device and camera strapped to their face at all times.  Many people, already weary after it was revealed that the government collected data about Americans, aren’t thrilled about the prospect of police videotaping every single interaction.
Politicians in high places have also expressed skepticism at the virtues of police carrying around cameras. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg recently objected to a pilot program to put video cameras on some NYPD officers.

Information Overload

As cool as this sounds, there is a risk of officials simply receiving too much information. When you have to make a split second decision, it doesn’t help to get a video feed, blueprints, and a detailed criminal history report all the same time. While this new app, combined with cutting edge technology, might aid officials in certain situations, nothing will take the place of proper training.

Cybercops?

Police officers have always been quick to adopt new technologies when it becomes clear that they could benefit from them, whether it be radio, speed radars, or car-mounted computers. If this new app becomes a hit with law enforcement and emergency professionals, this might be the next high-tech step in the evolution of America’s protectors.
Robyn Hillary is a writer from Northfolk, Virginia.  She writes about technology, social media, and online startups.

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