Google Glass has had a lot of negative publicity lately. Two cases in the San Francisco bay area come to mind: Kyle Russell and Sarah Slocum. Kyle Russell, a 20-year old journalist working at Business Insider, had his Glasses grabbed by a woman, who then ran away with it and smashed it when she saw Kyle in pursuit. Sarah Slocum on the other hand, a technology and marketing consultant, was at a bar when several people exhibited animosity towards her. A woman even flipped her and a man grabbed her phone and ran away with it but later returned it. These are some people in the news, there could be countless others who have not reported such incidents. I’ve personally been asked to remove my glasses in a restaurant because someone complained about privacy issues.
There are a variety of issues at play here. I’ve tried to keep this post as objective as possible, but please excuse my lean towards Glass because I’m a Glass owner myself and I thoroughly enjoy them.
[For those of you who want to know more about Google Glass or about its pros and cons, please read my earlier post on this subject.]
Elite & Luxury: One of the impressions that a lot of people have is the Google Glass is for the ultra-rich and elite members of society. So there is a natural hatred towards the wearer from the ‘common’ man. But, a lot of the people that have Google Glass are NOT rich. Some of them were selected through a contest by Google to test their product…about 10,000 people initially…many of them included common people that worked in jobs like all of us. Later, when other people were given a limited ability to buy the Glass through Google’s website, a lot of techies like me wanted to get their hands on it. So did a lot of adventure junkies. $ 1,500 is not chump change for me. I work hard to earn that money, yet I felt it was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of opportunity to participate in testing a futuristic device that would one day make history. So I put in my hard-earned money towards buying the Glass.
The Machines are taking over: Google Glass has evoked so much hatred from non-wearers also because a lot of people feel like it’s gone too far. Putting a computer on the phone (Smartphone) or a TV (Smart TV) or even on the wrist (Smart Watch) was okay with people, but when Google put a computer on the face, that’s when, according to people, it went too far. I feel that non-wearers feel that humanity is dying and people are becoming more and more like robots. It feels to them like the end of human interaction on a personal level. It might even be true to a certain extent.
Privacy Issues: A lot of non-wearers do not understand the Glass and it threatens them. All they have heard is that you take pictures and video with just a wink of the eye or a slight hand swipe. Especially at public places, people feel like their privacy is being intruded upon. This would probably happen even with a cell phone or camera, but it’s less intrusive. People feel that they can judge when someone is taking a picture using their cell phone. With Glass, people feel helpless. They do not know when and where someone could be taking pictures of them and they don’t like that.
Don’t be a Glasshole: A new word coined over Google Glass is being called ‘Glasshole’. Basically, it is a concatenation of two words as you can easily guess…in fact, the traditional word appears in its entirety if you just remove the first two letters of Glasshole. In fact, Google themselves have made the word official. Their website defines this word in “things NOT to do with Glass” as follows:
“Don’t be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). Respect others’ privacy and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass. If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.”
So please don’t be a Glasshole. For some of you who like to see a video, here’s one funny one to not get beaten up over wearing Google Glass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlfZ9FNC99k. ENJOY!