A new app is promising to improve sex using Google Glass, a claim that’s not altogether surprising but maybe a bit, ahem, premature.
Questions about how Glass will infiltrate the most intimate of human interactions have emerged since Google first unveiled its plan for internet-connected specs. Over the weekend, the website glassandsex.com announced it finally had some answers, and attracted a lot of attention by declaring that “sex will never be the same again.”
That’s a pretty bold claim for an app that looks a lot like any other smartphone video-recording app, isn’t yet available, and might never make it into the App Store at all.
There’s a universe of video-recording smartphone apps already out there, and they boast all kinds of high-quality functionality. And yet plenty of news organizations seem ready to believe that this Glass sex-app is something new and different, even if they’re not wild about the idea.
The app is actually more concept than function for now.
Though it’s marketed for Glass, it will only be available on your iPhone for starters. The website says app users will eventually be able to see themselves “from any angle,” and issue commands like “play Marvin Gaye,” and “give me ideas” about sexual positions. (Apparently, if the thought of having sex with someone wearing Google Glass isn’t a dealbreaker, you’ll also be cool with your partner googling positions while you’re doing it.)
According to developer Sherif Maktabi, the app will be called Glance, an abstract enough name that he expects it to stay in Apple’s sex-averse App Store without a problem. (There won’t be any references to sex in the app description either, he says.)
Here’s the idea: Glance will create a video based on what you film during sex. The finished product can be watched for up to five hours until it auto-deletes, Snapchat-style. (This is a feature that Maktabi’s three-person team initially touted as “for all the ladies out there,” a line they deleted from the website after people complained it was sexist.)
Maktabi wouldn’t offer specifics about security measures or privacy safeguards other than saying, “We are trying not to need web services to host the videos.”
Though the hashtag at the bottom of his site — #realworldsex — evokes Cindy Gallop’s MakeLoveNotPorn.tv network of sex tapes made by regular people, Maktabi says Glance isn’t officially partnering with Gallop. (“We’ve been talking… We love what she is doing,” he said.)
From its initial descriptions, Glance seems not all that different from any number of video-recording apps for the iPhone. In other words, if it seems optimized for sex, that’s because it was marketed that way, not because of its functionality.
The commands outlined on glassandsex.com — “Okay Glass, pull out,” for instance — will only work if Google Glass users custom-create them. Google is allowing voice commands for third-party apps — “take a note,” for Evernote, for example — but it’s not clear whether Google will require third-party apps to get approval for such commands to work.
Of course, staking a claim in this sector of the Glass-apps space is arguably smart strategy — it’s kind of like Maktabi and his colleagues are calling “dibs” before too many other developers saturate the marketplace with their intentions to do the same.
In the short term, however, the app will be only available for your iPhone, and it’s not clear that there’s anything that sets it apart from any number of recording apps. Maktabi says the iPhone app will be available “soon,” though it’s not yet clear when (or if) the app will be launched for Glass. The Glance business model is also up in the air at this point.
“This is an experiment,” Maktabi said in an email. “We are learning on the fly. We just want to publish our work and see what happens.”
I wrote back to Maktabi, explaining that I couldn’t see how his app would be any different than what’s already out there.
His response: “I think it’s best to judge when the product is out there! ”