Robert Hernandez, Marcia Dawkins and several other USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism faculty and graduate students held “Storytelling with Google Glass,” a forum about the impact and the possible uses of Google Glass in the field of journalism. The event was the first in a weekly journalism and public relations forum series, to be held every Tuesday at noon.
Faculty members and forum attendees tried out the new product and discussed its implications for journalism. Google Glass is a wearable computer with a prism that projects images directly in front of the eyes. Currently, Google Glass is very limited, with only a small amount of apps available, though Google has released the code for third-party developers to work on.
“The functionality of Google Glass will be much [greater] once native applications for it are developed,” said David Carr, a sophomore majoring in computer science and a “Google Glass explorer.”
According to the forum, Google Glass needs to be tethered to an Android smartphone in order to fulfill most of its functions, including news streaming and access to social media sites.
“The biggest downside is definitely the lack of internet connectivity,” said Alex Leavitt, a doctoral candidate in communications at Annenberg who owns a pair of Google Glass.
The main focus of the forum was the product’s use in journalism. Hernandez and Leavitt presented a few examples of how they used Google Glass to take point-of-view videos.
Hernandez said he believes that the main impact the glasses will have is not in content creation, but rather content delivery, by changing the way users of Glass receive news and other publications.
“It’s another tool in our toolbox, and it’s definitely something,” Hernandez said.
The Glass explorers demonstrated that taking pictures requires only a few hand swipes across the touch-sensitive panel on the left side of the device , or a voice command, making it much faster and simpler than using a phone camera. Glass explorers also spoke about how, for them, Google Glass will be a catalyst for discussions of privacy because using the glasses makes the wearer acutely aware of privacy violations.
“I think Google Glass is a cool idea, but it would sometimes be pretty intrusive on privacy,” said John Atyeo, a freshman majoring in chemical engineering.
The forum leaders also touched on how Google Glass affected the social aspects of their lives.
“I had to force myself to wear it,” Hernandez said. Sometimes, he said his friends cracked jokes at his expense, or he would draw unnecessary attention in public. Other Google Glass wearers mentioned that they had to deal with strangers being scared or put off after seeing that they were wearing Google Glass.
Despite a small amount of awkwardness, the general vibe of the forum was that this was something on the cutting edge.
“Google Glass kind of symbolizes our entrance into an era in which our lives become more wholly dependent on technology,” said Sarah Joh, an undecided freshman.
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