You probably remember the controversial feature initially included in Glass’s lists of advantages, the facial recognition function. In the beginning, some thought of it as a helpful feature for people with Alzheimer, for instance, because it could search instantly in the database of a social network or a photo agenda and give the user the name and profile of the person he’s looking at. The facial recognition feature of Google Glass has been a debate subject ever since it was first mentioned of. So, after a lot of fuss caused by the privacy terms of this function, Google decided to ban this kind of software from the Glassware app store until it’s conditions and terms of usage were clarified. The subject was closed until Stephen Balaban, the founder of Lambda Labs decided to develop software for the facial recognition function and make it available through side-loading.
When asked about their opinion regarding FaceRec, Balaban’s face recognition app, Google responded that the software will not be supported nor available on any of their official channels, meaning the app will reach a very low number of users.
At the moment, the app is able to take shots of every face seen while using Glass and allow the user to tag the photos with names, so that the software would be able to provide a complete description next time. The database is refreshed at every ten seconds while the app is working. Also, Lambda Labs prepared a filter for searching people on Facebook, however they didn’t install it because it was violating Facebook’s usage policies.
As they told Forbes, the app is directed towards a certain user type and they know that they won’t be seeing a lot of app installs.
Considering the discussions over the facial recognition feature in Glass, it was expected for the first software designed with this purpose to be limited and shy, but it’s definitely a step forward in the wearable technology. At least from the technological point of view, Star Trek doesn’t look that far far away in the future anymore, but who knew it would take just twenty years to get there? And besides, Lambda will continue improving their software so that it could be trust-able and reliable.
Even though this software has been banned from the official channels, we’re sure that at some point people will be prepared to find this kind of technology and find it useful rather than intrusive. After all, it is obvious that some people decided to find a workaround for it anyway so they might as well join them as long as they can’t beat ‘em. After all, we did change our opinion about a lot of other things during time especially when it comes to online availability and privacy. Besides, it could be a real help for people with mental disabilities such as Alzheimer or for people recovering from comas, strokes and so on.
As for the search giant, at some point we believe they will lessen their policies and allow Lambda Lab to upload their app in the official Glassware app at some point. Regardless to that, the start up company will continue developing their system and as a proof to that, they even created their own Android based head wearable device, the Lambda Hat.
Balaban’s bold gesture of developing a device just for being able to use the facial recognition feature when other platforms banned it, will be followed by other entrepreneurs with initiative. Even though this could turn wearable devices into privacy dangers, used correctly and with the right purposes it could really help some people improve their lives.
There are a lot of applications available outside official channels, for both Android and iPhone. You are probably aware of the iOS jailbreak community and familiar with some sideloaded apps for Android
Now it’s all up to the users to find the right perspective in order to enjoy this kind of technology.