It was inevitable that Google Glass would finally find inroads into doing something useful rather than annoy people. With Google still facing numerous technical challenges and opinions about using Google Glass in public, it needed a partnership with another company to promote a particular use other than helping ourselves navigate certain environments. The potentials of Google Glass are still strong, and CNN was astute enough to realize that the tech might have been coming off as too self-serving lately. Now they’re going to promote the idea that we can give back to others while using Google Glass.
CNN is going to be doing this through their Citizen Journalism arm that they’ve been utilizing for a number of years. They’ve used the concept of ordinary citizens capturing news events from their own cameras since even before 9/11. And when 9/11 occurred, it took video journalism to new places when ordinary bystanders took the most earth-shattering video footage any professional journalist could have ever captured. Now CNN will team up with the small amount of Google Glass users and use them as new journalist recruits to capture things their own journalists may not be able to take on.
Will this take citizen journalism to new places, or is it a slippery slope of people becoming overzealous in their use of the Google Glass video feature?
The Backlash Against Point of View Cameras
With some people protesting the use of Google Glass in recent months due to the possible invasiveness, many of the recruited citizen journalists will have to develop a set of video ethics. How that works is still to be determined, though Google already provides a basic etiquette listicle. Even I expanded on it a couple of months ago here at Yahoo! Contributor Network.
Using a point-of-view camera is obviously one of the greatest advancements we can have next to embedding a camera in our eyes. Even contact lens cameras are already being tested. But being able to see so much more from the perspective of our field of vision is one that gives some chills on how it can compromise privacy. Not being sure when a camera is actually on or off makes this a problem, especially when the days of larger cameras gave everyone warning that they might be on video.
In the world of “60 Minutes” type of journalism, Google Glass may be essential. The only roadblock is that those you want to catch in the act may recognize someone wearing Google Glass and immediately think they’re being videoed. In turn, they may freeze and stop doing or saying the things the citizen journalist hoped they’d do to rat them out to the public.
It’s perhaps one reason why mini cameras hidden in hats or other garments will still be used for this type of journalism rather than Google Glass. Not that CNN will probably want to do secret camera investigations, even if it’s certainly a viable form of journalism many citizens have already used.
Ultimately, the greatest use may come in capturing historical events as they occur and how they’d look through real eyes and not a wobbly camera. What it might capture down the road could be the best marketing Google Glass will ever have.
Capturing Future Calamitous Events
With so many earthly changes going on and major events going on every day, we’re bound to see something eventually on these Google Glass CNN reports that will blow everyone away. That’s going to be especially true if the person wearing them manages to keep them on while going through some element of turmoil as in a natural disaster or perhaps a major social upheaval. This “you are there” approach without having to hold a camera in hand may end up completely blurring the line between movie and real life.
Yes, even movie directors may end up acquiring Google Glass in order to capture shots that couldn’t be done when holding a camera. When we start capturing things that might ordinarily be missed, we’ll be seeing journalism on a completely new level of reality that gives us views of how a human being would react. The direction the camera goes will also provide plenty of social insight into what we actually train our eyes on when something historical unfolds before us.
In the cases where it may be horrific, we’ll see a new first-person account of whether most of us would look at it or not. For that, citizen journalism removes all elements of subjectivity in reporting the truth.