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February 26th 2014 3:55 pm

Woman wears Google Glass to SF bar and allegedly gets accosted

More fun tech-culture-clash news from the Bay Area this weekend. A woman was allegedly accosted by some angry bar patrons while wearing Google Glass. I don't entirely understand the utility behind Google Glass, but I think ultra aggressive and threatening behavior isn't the best response. (That said, it's been a long time since I've been at the bar in question -- it's a place you go to to drink PBR and listen to Misfits songs. I wouldn't advise going there to show off your latest technological toy inside a place whose patrons probably protest Google buses.)

Anyway, when you see someone wearing Google Glass, how does it make you feel? I always feel a bit uncomfortable, though I am intrigued. But not enough to want one.

(Sidenote: The uncomfortable sensation is also kind of strange -- considering how often we appear in other people's photos and videos each day, as well as consciously post photos of ourselves on social networks, it's weird to have this reaction to a device that can potentially violate our privacy.)

Via: uptownalmanac.com­/2014­/02­/video­-emerges­-google­-gla...

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I am very uncomfortable around people wearing Google Glass. It feels very odd to encounter someone who could potentially be recording any and everything at any time. The very surreptitiousness of the device itself lends to my feeling of disquiet, as though I'm just supposed to ignore the camera attached to someone's face and pretend like everything is normal.

I attended a hackathon where one of my teammates was wearing Google Glass and I had the opportunity to not only talk to her extensively about it, but to get to know her as well. She showed me how to use it and even let me wear it, though I had trouble getting it to function -- I'm nearsighted to the point of being unable to see the screen itself, and when I wore it over my prescription glasses, the Glass wasn't close enough to detect my face. But it did make me more comfortable to see how she interacted with it. It was especially handy with taking POV pictures when she was soldering a circuit and both of her hands were occupied.

It may be that it is more obvious than one might expect that a Glass wearer is recording video, but even after observing someone use Glass for two days, I still couldn't tell if a random person wearing Glass is recording or not. But regardless, I think that it shouldn't be for normal people to learn how Glass works, but rather Glass wearers to be extremely sensitive to the reactions of people around them. It sounded to me as though the journalist in question observed people being uncomfortable with her wearing Google Glass, with the thought of being recorded -- so she proceeded to record them. I can't even fathom her lack of sensitivity or manners.

I've always been somewhat leery of being recorded by strangers. I duck out of photographs that tourists are taking that I happen to walk behind. If someone is holding up their cellphone on the bus, I'll try to get out of the line of their rear-facing camera, that all-seeing eye. All in all, I find strangers with Google Glass discomfiting. I don't know them -- I don't know what their purposes or aims are. The propensity for easy recording makes the device all the more worse than cameras or phones.

If my friend holds up a phone to get a picture, I can always ask them to not take it, or to not post it. I think that a stranger shouldn't even try without explicit permission first. And if a Glass wearer enters my environment, they shouldn't be surprised if I ask them to remove the device in order to interact with me -- or if I leave.
6 like dislike

It is all about suspicion of being recorded. But I can just as easily be doing that already with what I already have. The ability is already established, and defiantly only going to get easier. So what happens next?
0 like dislike

I get being excited by your gadgets and wanting to use them always but the way the Google Glass wearer behaved in this situation was almost like she was some sort of social activist.

Even though the people in the bar appear to have been rude instantly (the initial interactions were not recorded) she should have recognized that she was using technology that might make some people uncomfortable and be respectful of that fact. Instead she started recording and intentionally challenged them by doing so.

In my opinion, the right thing to do would have been NOT to start recording and to let them know that she wasn't recording. If they still were being abusive then she could have gone to security or left.

Either way, this is a new technology and I imagine that there's going to be a fair amount of noise from both sides, some adaptation will be required, even possibly legislation in the near future regarding this kind of tech, privacy, etc.

Google needs to get their facial recognition technology to work with this so that people with Google accounts can opt out of being recorded... when the videos are uploaded to the internet Google's servers could look for these people and fuzz their faces out.
4 like dislike

Opt out policy is interesting.
0 like dislike

It doesn't matter what device was used. If it's near closing time in a darkened bar then there's a very very very good chance that people in the bar don't want to be video recorded without their consent, nor have that video uploaded to youtube. She didn't deserve to get beaten up, but she also should have known that what she was doing was a provocative act.

The simple rule of "don't be a jerk in a bar" applies here, it just happens to involve Google Glass too.
2 like dislike

Completely agree.

That said, I feel like there's some sort of fishy component about this story. It just seems a bit too convenient and seems to perfectly fit the clueless-gentrifying-tech-worker narrative. (And sort of reminds me of this: sfist.com­/2013­/12­/09­/this­_city­_for­_the­_right­_kind­_...)
3 like dislike

I really despised that whole story. I think it undercuts a cause to stage fake scenes like this. It just all seemed so stupid on their part, and made me lose what little sympathy I might have had for their cause.

I agree, Dave. I don't understand that whole movement. I find it just as stupid as Tom Perkins saying the treatment of the 1% is like the treatment of Jews in Nazi Germany (ok, his view is stupider, but both sides are dumb).
2 like dislike

Yeah, it sounds like this is entirely about drunken idiots in a bar at the end of the night.

That's not to say that there isn't a weird amount of hatred for Google Glass out there, but this case seems to be more about people making bad decisions than it is about technology. I don't care what's happening, if I had a delicate $1500 item on my person, the second people start getting excitable I'm going to scram.
2 like dislike

I have a huawai mobile hotspot, it's companion app for my (Wifi only) tablet requires camera access for whatever reason. feels the same: extremely akward.
1 like dislike

That is from poor coding practices. Mostly harmless, but disconcerting.
0 like dislike

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