Home > New Technologies, Regulation > Cool, but Creepy

Cool, but Creepy

A footnote to my last post on the FTC roundtables: check out Kara Swisher’s interview today with Google’s Vic Gundotra and Amit Singhal.  Based on their description of Google’s new visual search product named Google Goggles – coming soon to an Android headset near you – we may already be seeing a product that will test the FTC’s ability to balance consumer privacy concerns against technical innovation.

I can think of numerous ways visual search can revolutionize business, travel and the daily errand.  For instance, right now, I’d love to find out the provenance of this supposedly antique table that we picked up at the Alameda Antiques Faire last weekend.  For visual search to work effectively,  i.e. for it to catalogue enough results to get me a relevant, real-time match, the product must incorporate persistent GPS and location tracking technology.  And yet, these are the types of features that give some of us a creepy pause in this era of unregulated online privacy.  Do I really want my phone to know that much about me?

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