Next time you come face-to-face with somebody wearing Google Glass, you may be the star of a Livestream broadcast without even knowing it.
Livestream, one of the main companies providing tools both to average Internet users and to video professionals to stream live video of whatever they want to film, has developed the first app to livestream from Glass, Google's head-mounted, voice-activated computer that -- for now -- is available only to a select few "explorers," as the search company calls them.
As a rarefied product still, Google Glass has the tendency to make the wearer stick out, but a possible future of Glass proliferating raises questions about privacy and social interaction. The capability of video recording and livestreaming everything you see, without any physical markers or cues to the person being filmed, could heighten those worries of privacy.
"It's a balance between privacy and journalism," said Phil Worthington, Livestream co-founder and chief product officer. "Yes, maybe there are privacy concerns, but I think the information it shares with the world is much more valuable than that," he said, adding that the Google Glass app isn't doing anything different from what a person could do before it.
Livestream was behind the live feed of Twitter's IPO from the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, and provides streaming support to giant companies. But its tools are available to anyone who wants to shoot just about anything. That means sporting events that aren't being televised otherwise, YouTube-type personality shows developed specifically for Internet platforms, and -- of course -- puppycams.
With Google Glass, the possibilities are nearly unlimited. Imagine a live concert broadcast that includes a stream from the lead singer's or drummer's point of view, or a soccer match with a goalkeeper wearing Glass to show the audience how it feels to see strikers coming in for a goal. (Though producers may think twice about putting a $1,500 piece of light, breakable equipment on a goalie's face.)
Worthington gave the example of citizen journalists, capturing newsworthy events in history through the app. Mobile technology has allowed these people to record and livestream these events before, but Glass provides a valuable first person perspective that you just can replicate, he said.
The app also allows people following the stream to interact with the person shooting. Viewer comments pop up at the bottom of Glass's in-your-face interface; viewers can see the comments and questions in a sidebar next to the video on whatever platform they're watching. The stream that you create from Glass automatically posts in your Facebook feed when you start streaming it if you configure your settings appropriately, and after it's done, you can share the on-demand tape of it on social networks or with a link.
Viewers can also watch other Livestream feeds on Glass, creating the possibility of one person with Glass seeing the world through another Glass wearer's eyes.
There are limitations to Glass as a livestreaming device, to be sure. The device's battery life drains rapidly when shooting video; Worthington said that people dedicated to livestreaming a lot can connect a dedicated battery back to Glass to shoot longer.
The Livestream app for Google Glass is available for download at Livestream.com/Glass.