NYPD Is Testing Google Glass

February 6, 2014 | Andy Cush

Well, this is terrifying, if inevitable: the NYPD is testing Google Glass to see whether cops could use the wearable technology while on patrol. “We signed up, got a few pairs of the Google glasses, and we’re trying them out, seeing if they have any value in investigations, mostly for patrol purposes,” a police official told VentureBeat. “We’re looking at them, you know, seeing how they work.”

Notably, Google isn’t working with the department in any official capacity, and said it probably acquired the devices just like anyone else, through the company’s Explorer program.

Given Glass’s obvious applications as a facial recognition device, this doesn’t exactly bode well for New Yorkers’ privacy — even if Google says it won’t officially offer facial recognition apps. On the flip side, it could serve a similar function to the department’s court-ordered lapel cameras, recording video of cops’ actions so they can be reviewed for wrongdoing in the event of a complaint. Knowing the NYPD, however, the first option seems much more likely.

“We think it could help impact patrol operations in New York City,” VentureBeat’s source said. “We shall see.”