PPBH has been experimenting with Google Glass since the new year started. Most of our employees have taken a turn trying out the device – we’ve sent our fair share of “Glass Explorers” out into the world to see what the implications might be and we’re still happily experimenting. Google previously only allowed a small group of beta testers to buy the product, but since last month has opened it up to anyone willing to take on the $1,500 investment. The tech giant has a lot riding on the adoption of Glass, so it recently published a set of do’s and don’ts to prevent the derisive term “Glassholes” from becoming too mainstream. It even acknowledged the term with the following “don’t:”
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.
But we’re rather embarrassed by a recent incident involving a New York restaurant’s policy to not allow the device on dining patrons and the ensuing Glasshole Attack. The restaurant had previously received complaints about privacy from other customers so it asked one Glass-wearing woman to remove the device. She refused and was asked to leave. Of course, she did what any self-respecting technophile would do – she ranted on Twitter. The restaurant then received a flurry of one-star reviews from angry Glass disciples who had little to say about the food, but much to discuss concerning its “luddite” attitude toward technology.
Clearly this is a violation of Google’s Don’t Be an Evil Glasshole rule, but it points out the divisive and disruptive nature that new technologies can unleash on our social customs. My personal experience with Glass has been two-faced. On one hand, I am amazed by wearable technology that can enhance my experiences by adding a layer of data over what I’m seeing. On the other, sporting it in public can often feel like you’re wearing a “Kick Me” sign on your back. And the device itself feels rather primitive compared to the amazing smartphones that are available to purchase for much less. Playing games on it can feel like a trip back in time to the days of Pong and Centipede and some of the other apps for news and cooking can come off as extremely one-note experiences. But it’s the promise of the technology that is amazing to me – it’s either a canary in the coal mine of humans “evolving” into cyborgs or a harbinger of what is possible when technology can be more seamlessly integrated into our lives. Until then, you’ll probably get this reaction when “exploring” with your Glass: Stryker’s First Glass Video.
Cover image from www.google.com/glass/start/