Besides writing crime fiction my favourite occupations are messing in the vineyard and people watching. However, I am also totally fascinated by new gadgets and one that has really caught my attention is Google Glass. This last week while I have been walking the streets of London I have been mulling over some ideas about just how this new technology might be incorporated into James McKenna’s next crime fiction title.

I shouldn’t be thinking about this really as we are working all out to publish The Unwanted in June and I feel a little disloyal to be immediately planning the next crime fiction thriller in the James McKenna series. Of course I have made no decisions yet but I have been pondering.

For those who know nothing about Google Glass let me just explain a little about it. Google have developed a pair of glasses which are basically a wearable computer. The display is mounted on the right side of your head and the whole idea is that Google wanted to develop a ‘mass market ubiquitous computer’. So what you have basically is just like any smart phone but is commanded by voice and is wearable. This means you can deal with text message alerts and emails without having to reach for your phone when you are out and about.

The voice commands make it all so easy but right now the frames do not allow for prescription lenses yet Google, as one might imagine, are working on this. Just think, in the future one might go to an optician, to be fitted for a computer!

So I have in mind a detective who makes use of Google Glass to catch his villains and I shall be watching carefully to see what developments follow on in the next few months. I have no idea whether as a crime fiction writer I can pull this off but I am certainly willing to give it some thought as I observe London’s population.

At the moment so many people are paranoid about the privacy issues Google Glass might ignite and in effect I was interested in this when I wrote my crime thriller, The Unseen, a few years back and tackled the subject of psychotic subliminal induction.

However all the geeks think we are all worrying unnecessarily, well, in my opinion that remains to be seen. There has been a significant backlash to the Google Glass phenomenon and maybe some assumptions regarding privacy might be misguided, we shall have to wait and see (which is nearly a joke, but not quite). Google have apparently made limitations in its design to deal with these potential issues and fears.

Users are saying that Google Glass is currently a bit of a tease as at the moment it is still not perfect and some consumers say it is rather a mixed bag in its current form. Yes, you can respond to text and mail simply by using head movements and voice and it’s good for navigation information when you are making a journey on foot but the battery life is short and the screen is hard to see in bright light. Users keep saying they are wishing for more and you can bet Google will deliver.

Just think of the apps a detective would want on their Google Glass, immediate forensic capability, bringing up criminal records, tracking criminals and so on. My next crime fiction detective could be a superhero; I wonder whether Google have considered a super power app. I may well suggest it.

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