How not to be a Glasshole

19 February 2014

It’s been a little less than a year since Google Glass first hit the streets, but Google is still drawing criticism for the potential privacy and safety concerns that go along with having a camera and media player wrapped around your face.

With a commercial release expected sometime this year, Google would rather us all express excitement about the product, rather than apprehension. So, in the interests of good publicity, Google’s ‘Explorers’ community of Google Glass enthusiasts has released its first guide to Google Glass etiquette.

The Explorers have a few positive pieces of advice about getting the most individually from your Glass experience, but what’s really interesting is how the article looks at how your Glass-wearing affects others.

How to use Google Glass without making everyone hate you

Some of the tips are just common sense, such as advising users not to wear their Glass during high-risk sports or activities (so if you’re thinking of using Glass to beat this selfie with your own POV-in-Pamplona experience, please don’t).

Unfortunately, advice along the lines of 'please don't be these people' wasn't included, so if your hope is to use Glass to record popping the question as shakily and awkwardly as possible, Google has your back.

Play nice with others.

Glass wearers should forgo all hopes of being able to wear Glass without getting stares, whispers and direct questions from less tech-aware members of the public. So don’t be a jerk (or as Google has termed it, a ‘Glasshole’) to people with genuine questions.

To that might we add: you’re wearing Google Glass to appear knowledgeable and interesting. People are interested in your knowledge. Be thankful you’re finally getting some attention.

Pay attention.

Google would also like to remind Glass users that it’s rude and counter-productive to ‘glass out’ in public – so don’t become so absorbed with what you’re doing with Glass that you tune out of what’s happening in the real world. Google Glass was designed to transmit quick, small bursts of info and service without disrupting your regular interactions and activities…so save your time-consuming reading, browsing and media-watching for home.

Don't be creepy.

Most importantly is the issue of being a Google Glass creeper. One of the biggest problems people have had with Glass is the fear of being secretly recorded by Glass-wearing perverts. And as so many of the Explorers testing the product out so far look like they potentially spend their downtime handing out lollipops from a windowless van and perfecting their sex offender facial hair, this concern is understandable.

So in order to appease the scandalised general public, Google is asking Glass users to be respectful about when and where they use the recording features of their devices. If you enter an establishment that forbids recording of its patrons, or are simply asked to remove your Google Glass, take it off. If you do want to film or photograph someone, ask permission and make sure they’re ok with what you’re doing. And maybe take off the eyepiece altogether before heading to the bathroom.

And finally...

As a final aside, it’s still not really possible to be completely discreet when filming with Google Glass – and we’ve pointed out previously that smart watches are a much creepier means of secret surveillance. Most people are at least familiar with the idea of Glass, and suspicious minds will probably keep an eye on you anyway in case you do decide to indulge in some secret filming.

But really, dedicated creepers don’t need to spend $1500 on obvious wearable tech when much subtler spy equipment is available, such as this $59 pair of sunglasses with a hidden video camera currently available from Kogan. So anyone with a fear that Google Glass will make it easier for perverts to do their thing needn’t worry – the perverts are already a step ahead of you.

Image credit: Google Glass

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