Google announced a number of updates to Google Glass yesterday, including a feature that allows you to upload and share YouTube videos; Google "How far to Brooklyn?" or "How many calories in a banana?"; and take photographs just by winking.
According to The Verge, Google developed a version of the photo winking app back in May. It was originally known as Winky, but has now been shortened to just Wink. Developer Mike DiGiovanni told The Verge at the time that Winky is triggered by eye movement that is bolder than a blink, but that more sensitive technology exists:
He tells us that Glass has some "pretty cool sensor algorithms" that can detect the magnitude and lengths of winks. A typical blink won't activate Winky, as "you actually have to get that scrunch up" for Glass to acknowledge the gesture he's using for the app. He also tells us that he's "stumbled across some code that even appears to detect blinks, double blinks, and double winks."
Google described the current iteration of the app as an exploratory feature, adding that "it's even faster than the camera button or voice action and it even works with when the display is off." The company further explains that it sees photography as a jumping off point for the technology:
We’re starting with pictures, but just think about what else is possible. Imagine a day where you’re riding in the back of a cab and you just wink at the meter to pay. You wink at a pair of shoes in a shop window and your size is shipped to your door. You wink at a cookbook recipe and the instructions appear right in front of you – hands-free, no mess, no fuss. Pretty cool, right?
Obviously, the "creepshot" possibilities raises privacy concerns that have dogged Google Glass from the beginning, and which Google has not been great at addressing so far. The Wink feature makes it even more likely someone might be able to snap a photo without the subject realizing it. Representative Joe Barton said in August he was disappointed by Google's response to a number of questions on the product, like how Google will alter its privacy policies in light of Glass. Google was among a number of tech companies demanding reform of the NSA's mass surveillance program. Maybe Google and the government can reach some sort of no-spying pact? (Don't hold your breath on that one.)
Other updates include access to music and playlists through Google Play; swipe screen lock technology; Google Hangouts for Glass. The Google team also removed the "Sent Through Glass" signature in outgoing text messages, presumably so your friends don't think you're the kind of loser who walks around asking herself about the caloric value of bananas and dictating text message like "k" or "wtvr" or "hahahaha."