Glassholes Meet Up At West Hollywood Bar

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Google's privacy invading wearable computing device, Glass, has been taking a lot of well deserved hits lately, and the Internet giant seems to have launched a PR campaign to bolster the device's plummeting image. Over the weekend Google sponsored "Glass Night Out" at various locations across the country.

Saturday night my colleague Evan King, decided to don Consumer Watchdog's Glass and check out the local event, which was held at Vintage Enoteca in West Hollywood. The Internet giant described the campaign on its Glass Google+ page:

This Saturday night, you and Glass are going out! Explorers across the US are getting together to mingle, snack, and cheers for the first Glass Night Out.

In the words of +JR Curley, these events are part of a community initiative to have a formal Explorer meet up, team with local businesses, and help dispel Glass myths to all.

Check out the details here:

The event was billed as the "first of many #glasswelcomed and #glassnightout events." 

King tells me his impression of the event was that it was intended to dispel the notion that "Glass Explorers" — the folks who for the most part wrangled invitations and shelled out $1,500 to try Glass — are an out-of-touch, tech elite who frequently behave like, well, Glassholes.

King reports than we he got to the bar around 9 pm sporting Consumer Watchdog's Glass (and no, I'm not going to say where we got the device), there were 10-15 "Explorers" more or less off by themselves in the back of the bar.

His analysis of what he saw was that while he observed no particularly outlandish Glasshole behavior, the group seemed to be an out-of-touch, tech elite.

I'm willing to concede that Glass might be useful in a few very special circumstances, but those uses are largely trumped by the device's threat to privacy.  We've made two short videos showing, for example, how Glass can be used to surreptitiously record someone's ATM pin number or how Glass invades privacy in a restroom.  Take a look at Consumer Watchdog's study reviewing some of the device's major shortcomings and pitfalls.

Washington Post tech reporter Hayley Tsukayama wore Glass for a week and wrote about the experience in an article, My Awkward Week with Google Glass. As she succinctly put it, "I'm wearing Google Glass. And I hate it."

"Would I buy Google Glass?" Tsukayama asks rehtorically. "Not now, especially with that $1,500 price tag. The device has a lot of evolving to do before it's ready for the world. The world has some evolving to do before it's ready for Glass, too."

I'm betting it will take a long, long time.  For now, simply just say no and don't be a Glasshole.

John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson
John M. Simpson is an American consumer rights advocate and former journalist. Since 2005, he has worked for Consumer Watchdog, a nonpartisan nonprofit public interest group, as the lead researcher on Inside Google, the group's effort to educate the public about Google's dominance over the internet and the need for greater online privacy.

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