Recording the Big Tech Show podcast with Adrian yesterday, I suggested maybe Apple’s big push to be our guardian of privacy and taking shots at Facebook was part of their strategy for their AR glasses that are definitely on the way. This was after Roisin Kiberd expressed horror that Google Glass wasn’t dead and buried in a lead box under 50 tonnes of concrete. (This is how I saw her horror).
The Google Glass blowback was instant and has never been forgotten. The design didn’t help with this boxy looking thing that a surgeon might wear on their face but the main thing was that it was always recording and people did not like that. Maybe it didn’t help that those wearing Google Glass were the stereotype of the creepy white guy watching you from the bushes outside your bedroom.
Apple doesn’t comment on most societal things but they are going strong on privacy. Taking shots at Facebook though is their proxy for Google too. Google were smart about Android. They saw that Apple had a growing and eventual billion device platform that could influence search and the web itself. They were already paying billions to be the default search engine on iPhone and saw the traffic it was generating. Imagine if Apple switched to their own search engine and appls? So Google bought a phone operating system called Android, then they gave that software to any phone manufacturers and started making their own devices too. All those phones have Google apps that send traffic to Google and make Google ad revenue. That was fine but Google also started logging all you did on those phones and used that data to profile you. So Apple on the high end is selling €1300 “clean” phones and Android can be installed on €30 phones.
Android phones scoop up everything about you but Apple is making a lot of noise about the fact that your data on an iPhone stays on your phone and doesn’t phone home to Google/FBI/China etc. And Android allowed others to do the same. Everyone now assumes that Facebook logs everything and sucks up everything about you to their servers and uses that data to help advertisers run ads to you. If you want to bring out AR glasses then you are going to need to prime people that Apple glasses are going to respect privacy unlike those Google Glasses and whatever hardware device Facebook will try to build but will fail at.
Maybe Apple care a lot about privacy but if people will react badly to Apple Glasses then it will impact on them financially so technically Facebook and Google are a threat, not for their hardware they may make but because of all their privacy violations. In an age where so many people believe Facebook is listening in on you via your phones mic, it’s going to be a lot of work to convince people Apple are not recording people on Apple Glasses. I’m sure there’ll be a whole industry of people selling anti-glasses tech that you can wear, that you can install in a bar, that you can use to detect if you are being recorded. Most will probably be scammy. Then we’ll have the media stories of people with glasses being robbed, assaults, bad driving, people being assaulted because they were believed to be recording someone etc. etc. Or will Apple seed positive stories about the goodness of Apple Glasses? Not that they’d ever do that.
Update, look at what Apple did at CES