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Google Glass and the Future of Photography

October 8th, 2013 by Marc Comments

It’s been just more than a year since Google Glass stunned the world at Google’s annual development conference, and the potential for Google Glass to impact creative fields is still unfolding. A recent survey by BITE Interactive revealed 10 percent of people surveyed would purchase and use Google Glass if the price was within their range. With some industry experts postulating a Glass price tag of less than $300, the potential it unlocks for the arts, especially photography, is staggering.

OK Glass, Take a Picture

Google Glass prototypes being tested now come with a built-in camera capable of taking 5mp pictures and recording 720p video. With Glass, taking a picture of whatever you are currently looking at is as easy as reaching up to the top right side of Glass, tapping the touchpad on the right side, or saying aloud, “OK, Glass, take a picture.”

Street photographer, Glass explorer and Assistant Professor at UC Berkeley, Richard Koci Hernandez is currently beta testing Google Glass and is intrigued with its potential for photographers. His Instagram account, “koci_glass,” consists entirely of Instagram photos taken on the street with his Google Glass. For street photographers especially, Google Glass offers an unparalleled method to take sly photographs of people in their natural day-to-day lives. A cell phone can only take a picture once it’s been pulled out of a pocket, swiped, password unlocked, and the app opened. Only then can the phone be pointed conspicuously at someone. Think of all the missed shots and opportunities Google Glass will be able to capture with a single button press.

Glass: The Facebook Killer?

One of the more interesting ways Google Glass could change the way people around the world take pictures is it uploads images instantly to Google+ after they are taken with Glass. ZDNet notes while Facebook still has a 500 million user lead, Google+ is already closing in as the number two social network, with 343 million active users. As Glass sends images directly to Google+, it will also send traffic to user Google+ pages. The ease of taking a picture with Google Glass makes software such as Instagram (owned by Facebook) look downright labor-intensive.

For journalists, the opportunities are magnified. A pop culture writer could wear Glass to a concert and record the whole thing for review, then sift thru the video for the shots that captured the night. For photojournalists on assignment in dangerous or volatile situations, such as war zones, Google Glass offers a hands-free way to carry a device that can capture moments that matter and send them to editors in less than a minute. Think of all the content that could shift away from sites such as Twitter and Facebook if Glass was in the hands of more journalists and bloggers.

Shattered Glass

This isn’t to say Glass is perfect for taking photos. Many users have noted a one to two second delay between a command given and a photo taken, which any professional photographer knows is too long to capture the perfect moment. As a professional tool, Glass is still in beta and needs work to address the shutter lag and offer exposure compensation, which it currently lacks. Additionally, a 5MP picture lacks the quality needed for professional photography.

Glass isn’t a phone itself, either, and currently could not replace no contract phones from T-mobile or other providers, a lack of multi-functionality that could turn off consumers. Is Glass ready to replace cameras and phones? No. Should photographers be excited about the coming possibilities, though? Most certainly.

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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….

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