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Google Glasses: What Do They Mean For Pop Culture?

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Jun 29, 2012 | 6:16am EDT

The Google Glass project, which debuted several months ago, is gaining steam and publicity as more information about its development comes out. We know this much: a pair of Google Glasses will be able to do everything from search the internet to take pictures to show you maps right in front of your eyes. Rather than obscuring the wearer’s vision with the constant flow of information, Google Glasses have a small camera and glass-looking display on the top-left corner of the glasses, right above the eye. We can only imagine that with a pair of Google Glasses on, you would feel like you had a Terminator-style display screen, only it would be less cumbersome.

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So, what do Google Glasses mean in terms of the entertainment industry? Will people walk down the street, streaming Arrested Development on Netflix? Will movies be shot exclusively from a first-person point of view while wearing Google Glasses? Perhaps the paparazzi will have an easier time following celebrities, because by wearing Google Glasses, they will just blend into the crowd. Will Google Glasses be integrated into social media? Will they wipe out the need to carry a smartphone, or any cell phone at all?

As each new medium of communication is invented, our perception of entertainment radically shifts. Think of the way people consumed media at the time of the telegraph versus the way people consume media during the era of the iPhone. While going to the movies used to be a major outing, now we can sit and watch any program we want on our laptops, or even our cell phones. But with Google Glasses, we won’t even need that – the movie will be right in front of our eyes, whenever we want it.

Communication scholar Marshal McLuhan famously said that “the medium is the message,” meaning that the content we produce is not nearly as important as the steps we take toward producing new media (for instance, he argues that film played with the human conception of speed and time, which means that the message of the movie medium is lineal connections). It could be said that the development of Google Glasses expresses a desire for ease and expediency. As of now, you can pull out your smart phone and let the GPS track you as you walk and follow directions, but with Google Glasses, you won’t even have to pull out your phone and look at the screen – everything will be right in front of you. With the development of Google Glasses, the way we function has the prospect to completely change – and the same goes for the way that the entertainment industry functions.

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