28 Mar 2014, 15:48

My take on NPR's Glass story

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My take on NPR’s Glass story

NPR ran a story on distracted driving and legal challenges with Google Glass on All Things Considered

The piece highlights some of the legal issues, states proposing legislation that would mark wearing Glass on the road as distracted driving. Unfortunately, the politicians do not seem to understand Glass, and the Explorer that they interviewed was allowing himself to be distracted by Glass while driving, reading off Field Trips information and claiming that it was OK because the screen was transparent.

My personal view is that it is a lot easier to not be distracted by Glass than it is to not be distracted by your phone while driving. Where Glass allows you to quickly dismiss unnecessary information, where the phone requires more interaction to get and dismiss the same information. From there, it depends on what sort of information you’re getting. A lot of times, with an email or text message, Glass can read you aloud what the content is, so that you don’t need to look at the screen. Responding also does not require you to be looking at the screen.

The device can be either much less distracting, or as distracting as a phone, depending on how you use it. I think that the Glass team needs to tackle this problem head on, and make sure that Explorers have no illusions about what constitutes a distraction. They also need to do a better job of communicating all of these things to the public. Finally, they should add some APIs, for developers, around being able to determine if navigation mode is enabled. From there, developers might choose not to surface information, or delay information based on ETA. E.g., never me Field Trips, or news while driving.

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