A San Francisco man wearing Google Glass was asked to leave a downtown coffee shop Monday for making customers and employees “feel uncomfortable” in the latest example of public backlash against Google’s wearable tech, which has yet to retail to the general public.
“I was asked to sit outside if I wanted to stay for coffee,” Steven Mautone wrote in a LivingThruGlass.com post that quickly accumulated hundreds of comments — both for and against wearing Glass in public — on reddit. “This was a very discouraging event for me because I have been so energetic about evangelizing Google Glass for so long. How is it that with so many thousands of Explorers there is still this huge amount of confusion about the device?”
“If I was sitting in a restaurant with someone pointing an iPhone at me I’d assume they were recording me or taking pictures. If you are looking at me while wearing glass I will feel the same way. Not sure if that’s the consensus or not, but just my opinion,” one commenter wrote.
Many users like Mautone have incorporated their eyeglass subscription lenses on the device, and have little choice but to leave public establishments with rules against Glass — a trend that is spawning increasingly explosive media stories like that of a man who was detained and interrogated by federal officers for hours last month after wearing his Glass in a movie theater.
The concern shared by the public and proprietors is Glass’s ability to take photographs or record video with the simple blink of an eye, leading to the perception that anyone wearing Glass has the potential to violate copyright and piracy laws in the example of the movie theater, or ethical security and privacy standards in the case of the general public.
“It’s been almost a year. Glass is not a new thing anymore. Why is there still this confusion and fear?” Mautone said, expressing his frustration with what he described as “misinformed media coverage.”
Mautone cited a December report by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in which the journalist fumbled with the device on air as just one example of the media coverage that has led to “fear, uncertainty, and doubt” about Glass.
With recent Glass headlines drawing attention to topics like law enforcement agencies adopting the device to record potential criminals while on patrol and Google lobbying against distracted driver laws, it looks like Glass is in for a continuing uphill climb for public acceptance into the foreseeable future.