Google tells Glass users to stop being ‘glassholes’


Google co-rounder Sergey Brin wears Google Glass glasses. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Google Glass remains in a form of closed beta, available only to a select group of "explorers." But despite having paid for the privilege, these explorers are essentially ambassadors for a product. And now Google has a little bit of advice for this de facto outreach team: Avoid "water skiing, bull riding or cage fighting" while wearing Glass -- oh, and don't be a "glasshole."

Some of the advice is pretty obvious -- like not using a delicate piece of technology during high-impact sports. Some is a little more peculiar, like worrying that explorers will be so consumed by Glass they might miss out on the real world. "If you find yourself staring off into the prism for long periods of time you’re probably looking pretty weird to the people around you," Google explains. "So don’t read War and Peace on Glass."

Even under the "dos" section, Google seems a teensy bit worried about explorers' social skills, reminding them to ask for permission before recording people. "Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends (see Don’ts #4)."

Don't #4 is explicitly avoiding being a “glasshole.”

Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy. Be polite and explain what Glass does and remember, a quick demo can go a long way. 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.

With a few of these dos and don'ts, it seems like Google is trying to explain to users how to act like a normal human being in public settings. That may seem a little condescending, but in a world where not everyone is comfortable with Glass it makes some sense: There have already been some angry confrontations between explorers and those that would prefer Glass not be deployed in their establishments, like the time a Glass user tried to get wait staff fired for requiring him to remove his device or leave the premises.

Andrea Peterson covers technology policy for The Washington Post, with an emphasis on cybersecurity, consumer privacy, transparency, surveillance and open government.
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