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Google Glass makes pre-emptive strike

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Posted: Thursday, February 6, 2014 1:00 pm

ATLANTA -- Lawmakers, interns and clerks got to try out pairs of the Google Glass wearable computer Thursday as representatives of the search-engine company sought to head off possible efforts to outlaw use of the technology while driving.

The gadget is worn like glasses with only one small lens that serves as the screen for viewing the internet, from video to newspaper websites and anything else that's online. Commands are given either by voice or taps along the frame of the glasses, and manipulation takes considerable concentration for first-time wearers.

It is still in testing and isn't available for purchase yet, so it wasn't discussed four years ago when lawmakers passed Georgia's law against texting while driving. The company says that means Google Glass isn't prohibited.

"It's hands-free. You use your voice. It's heads-up," said Wilson White, the corporate public-policy manager.

He argues that anti-texting laws haven't succeeded in reducing accidents because now drivers take their eyes off of the road longer because they hold their cellphones lower to keep from being caught.

"We know people are going to do it," he said.

Google is considering sponsoring research to prove its gizmo is no more distracting than other technology accepted in automobiles, such as in-dash internet screens.

For now, it's not asking for specific legislation or fighting to stop any already introduced.

"What we don't want is premature legislation that will stifle innovation," White said.

Follow Walter Jones on Twitter @MorrisNews and Facebook or contact him at and (404) 589-8424.

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