Friday, March 1, 2013

Google Glass and its implication on facebook Graph search

I am an ardent follower of all the happenings in the electronics and gadgets world. Today I will do a bit crystal ball gazing into future social networking landscape. Recently Google has unveiled project Glass, the simple spectacle look alike wearable computer under development by the internet search giant. Much to its media hype asserted by 28 year old founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg who was quick to commend Google’s effort as well, stating “I can’t wait to get my own.” Praising a competitor is something very out of character for Facebook, especially when that competitor is Google.
According to Forbes magazine, Facebook is already preparing for the Glass launch: “According to Zuckerberg, Facebook has a team of three engineers, led by a former Google employee, waiting for the product to be shipped to them so they can start building applications.”
If we analyze all these developments in the tech world one can’t fail to take into consideration the shape of things coming in not too distant future. Only last year facebook has introduced graph search api to developer community. Given the potential of graph search to dig up all the personal details of a particular user it is easily assumed that if they are planning to integrate graph search apps on Google's glass platform it could be a killer app which can easily become win-win for both these rivals.
    I guess the term privacy settings will be taken more seriously after that. Given a scenario where a user wearing Google glass loaded with graph search app can stroll around in his neighborhood and gain all the personal details of the passerby individuals. Google Glass with its augmented reality feature allows a user to look at an individual and perform a facebook graph search to dig up details about that person.
This can play as havoc for individual privacy and social security. Off course we can't hold facebook responsible legally as they are sharing only those data publicly shared by the user. But, we usually set our privacy setting assuming that data will be shared publicly where the platform would be either desktop/laptop. But, Glass platform has completely changed the paradigm of social networking. I guess none of the user has thought that someone can stare at them and through glass lens can perform facial match and retrieve profile info like their favorite movie, restaurant the person frequently visits also their relationship status and whom he/she is currently dating. Jeez…..this sounds super cool (straight out of James Bond movie gadget) for common users like us. But, from security perspective, this can be a weapon in the hand of a stalkers and crooks. They can get disproportionate amount of information about a person in real time.
Google Glass will help fight the antisocial and “emasculating” habit of compulsive smartphone checking, Google co-founder Sergey Brin said in a surprise appearance at the TED Conference held recently. In his 10-minute TED talk, Brin didn’t provide concrete new details on Glass, a cross between a smartphone and a pair of glasses. But he did confess that, having used Glass, he felt emasculated and isolated every time he checked his regular smartphone. “You’re actually socially isolating yourself with your phone,” Brin told the audience. “I feel like it’s kind of emasculating…. You’re standing there just rubbing this featureless piece of glass. In contrast to a smartphone, Google Glass allows people to keep their head up as digital information is overlaid onto their world, no matter where their gaze is pointed. “I whip this out and focus on it as though I have something very important to attend to,” Brin added later, holding up his phone. “This [Google Glass] really takes away that excuse.… It really opened my eyes to how much of my life I spent secluded away in email or social posts.” Brin also said Glass helps advance a longstanding dream of his to let users receive highly relevant information without actually having to run searches. “My vision when we started Google 15 years ago was that eventually you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all — the information would just come to you as you needed it,” Brin said. “This is the first form factor that can deliver that vision.” Of course, devices like Google Glass are sure to have downsides as well. Hopefully not too many conversations fall dead as one party becomes immersed in highly targeted information overlaid onto their view of the other person. Surely losing your friend’s eye contact halfway through a sentence would be emasculating and socially isolating in its own way. As the proverb goes "Science can be a blessing in the hands of a good guy but can become curse if the intents are not good". Right now, graph search in facebook is still restricted for few users located in US. For those of us who are curious and wants to try their hand early to get a feeling about this futuristic technology, here is the snapshot: First thing we need to perform a search is access_token which changes dynamically. So, every time it keeps changing. We need a valid access_token to append to the search request.
Now, if we want to search all the cafes near DLF cyber city (radius of 1000 meter). We need to pass latitude=28.498355800000000000 and longitude=77.090171100000020000 and construct a https service request like this:
https://graph.facebook.com/search?q=coffee&type=place&center=28.498355800000000000,77.090171100000020000&distance=1000 &access_token=…….
Response will be something like this:
{
   "data": [
      {
         "location": {
            "street": "",
            "zip": "",
            "latitude": 28.498380467626,
            "longitude": 77.091220359712
         },
         "category": "Local business",
         "name": "Costa Coffee,DLF Cyber City.",
         "id": "194006187327375"
      },
      {
         "location": {
            "street": "Cafe Coffee Day - Cyber City, Gurgaon , 193926289498",
            "city": "Gurgaon",
            "state": "",
            "country": "India",
            "zip": "122001",
            "latitude": 28.496411,
            "longitude": 77.087493
         },
         "category": "Local business",
         "name": "Cafe Coffee Day - Cyber City, Gurgaon",
         "id": "391087630950640"
      },
      {
         "location": {
            "street": "Cafe Coffee Day - DLF 6, Tower A, Gurgaon , 193926289498",
            "city": "Gurgaon",
            "state": "",
            "country": "India",
            "zip": "122001",
            "latitude": 28.496321,
            "longitude": 77.087478
         },
         "category": "Local business",
         "name": "Cafe Coffee Day - DLF 6, Tower A, Gurgaon",
         "id": "307571492673291"
      },
……..],
"paging": {
  "next": "https://graph.facebook.com/search?type=p..&access_token=A
&limit=25&offset=25&__after_id=125156210978689"
   }
}
You can easily identify the cafes. Some of us are quite frequent to one th0se cafes.
So next time when you search something in facebook instead of normal search try Graph api Search…..I bet this will surely complement your geek quotient :)

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