Eye Robot: Commenters take a look at Google's smart contact lens plan and don't like what they see

Google contact lense
Life changing accessory, or ultimate spying device?

Health trackers are the big thing of the moment, the only problem being... most of them are guessing.

Some do little more than tell you have far you've walked in a particular day, in case you've somehow forgotten you went out or had other things on your mind than counting how many steps you took.

And you can close your eyes and count the angry throbbing in your head if you want to know what your heart rate is. And even then, what does that tell you? That you've either been sitting still for a while or have just bravely walked up 12 steps and are now on the verge of a heart attack? Pointless again.

But, there's one serious health tracker out there on the horizon: Google's prototype contact lens that has the potential to function as a continuous blood glucose monitor. It's now one step closer to becoming a real thing, thanks to a tie-up with medical giant Novartis.

Samsung Gear Fit

You don't need a fancy smartwatch or wearable like the Samsung GearFit to know you are unhealthy

For people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, access to live blood glucose readings would be a benefit of immense value, one genuinely able to change lives and improve people's health.

For once, we don't want to instantly laugh at a wearable.

But for most internet commenters, Google's foray into the eyeball is simply providing another place for the NSA to stick a mini camera and watch us watching YouTube.

Eyeball to eyeball

It didn't take us more than two mouse clicks to find someone worrying that this will inevitably mean live footage of us all having a wee will end up on some governmental server somewhere.

Daily Mail reader Wilsonfried said: "I have mixed feelings about this sort of technology. Half of me thinks it's great and too good to be true and the other half of me says what hidden technology is the lurking in such a device. e,g, cameras, microphone. Can someone somewhere see and hear everything you see and hear."

If this had cameras and a microphone in it you'd be told about it Wilson, as that means you could be charged more money for the privilege of buying it. Plus it might be pushing the boundaries of miniaturisation a little to suggest that a camera could be hidden inside something so small.

In the same thread, reader Bob reveals he's not having the best time with Google technology of a much more basic and slightly less invasive sort, saying: "Hope my vision won't crash as much as Google Chrome!"

Global vision

Things got a bit nasty over on the Independent, where reader Geoffrow thinks there's some sort of rich/poor class war going on, and Google's helping spread inequality via controlling access to expensive gadgets. He moaned that the smart lenses would: "Improve the lives of millions of people with diabetes and bad eyesight. Let the billions who are starving and have no access to clean water out of it..."

A controversial stance on a healthcare product that was quickly slapped down by commenter Trisul, who replied: "It's like bemoaning that you have access to internet, while billions are starving. Shame on you!"

On serious business news portal CNBC, reader Magnusone suspects it's all just one big spin to gain positive PR and register a tax loss somehow, claiming: "This is not innovation, but a lie for tax avoidance funded by appended ads on catastrophic copyright theft. There will be no contact lenses."

He also suggests a new way forward for Google, adding: "What Google has to do is create an app to stop Silicon Valley prostitutes from taking out the executives."

We're not sure if he means metaphorical (venture capital) or literal (sex) prostitutes. Either way it's something we're sure Google will investigate further.

Vapour Eyewear

It was taken equally seriously (as in not seriously at all) on Ars Technica, where reader MaxMurderer was as scathing as his username suggests, commenting: "So by 'within five years' they mean they will have an obscenely expensive demo gadget that doesn't do much of anything, has no practical applications and will suddenly become vaporware when Google gets distracted by its new pet project of an augmented reality targeted ad-serving, data collecting, personal productivity enhancing, rectal implant? SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!"

Reader Fabioromero thinks there might be some sort of image problem akin to the social issues triggered by Google Glass surrounding the issue of eye-touching technology, writing with horror: "The idea of having a wire and a tiny chip on my eye scraping the inner side of my eyelid made me cringe hard. And I thought using old contact lenses was bad."

We suspect the idea might not be to market it as a device able to scrape wires across the eyes of the general public. That would result in something even less popular than Google Glass.

  • Before Google moves into contacts it should concentrate on perfecting Google Glass...