Washington: Innovation doesn’t come without unintended consequences. For Google Glass Explorers, the first group of people selected to purchase and experiment with Google Glass, those unintended consequences can happen from the moment they step out the door.
From staring off into space (i.e. staring at the monitor in the corner of the screen) to recording without permission to fielding constant questions about the device, Explorers have been exploring new boundaries of etiquette, as well as technology.
Google is finally realising what the rest of the world has known for some time: People who wear Google Glass can sometimes be “creepy or rude.”
To avoid freaking out people even more than Glass wearers already do, Google has released a set of dos and don’ts for those who wear Glass, with a number of suggestions that might help non-Glass wearers feel more comfortable.
At the top of the don’t s list, Google suggests people who use the wearable computer shouldn’t overly engage with it in public because they will look strange if they are standing around staring up into the air for no apparent reason.
Other suggestions by Google seem to be pretty obvious, though the company is still spelling them out.
“Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends,” the company wrote. “Ask permission before taking photos or videos of others.”
One way to avoid making people feel uncomfortable is to slip Glass around your neck or put them in a backpack.
Google also said that it has learnt that if you wear Google Glass people are going to want to talk to you about the new technology.
“Be patient and explain that Glass has a lot of the same features as a mobile phone,” including the camera, maps, email and other technologies, Google says.
Surprisingly, Google acknowledged a somewhat derogatory term that has been floating around San Francisco, noting that people who wear Google Glass can be known as a “Glasshole.”
In the Bay Area, it’s not uncommon to see a number of people wearing Google’s wearable computer.
To avoid being called a “Glasshole,” Google suggests that people “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.”
The suggestions aren’t all about Glass’ creepy factor. The company also touts a number of virtues of wearing Google Glass, including being able to “take advantage of the Glass voice commands” that allow people to use it hands-free while “golfing, cooking, or juggling flaming torches while balancing on a beach ball.”
So what should Explorers be sure to do with Google Glass? Look up, for starters.
“Glass puts you more in control of your technology and frees you to look up and engage with the world around you rather than look down and be distracted from it,” says Google. “Have a hangout with your friends, get walking directions to a fantastic new restaurant, or get an update on that delayed flight.”
Along those lines, Google adds that utilising voice commands further expands the hands-free possibilities of Glass, and adding a password helps protect the device in case it gets stolen.
Aside from etiquette, Google may want to release some legal dos and don’ts for explorers. Last fall, explorer Cecilia Abadie fought a traffic violation in court after being pulled over for wearing Glass while driving. She won. In January, an explorer in Ohio was questioned for four hours after wearing Glass to a movie on suspicion of recording the film. He was let go — he has his prescription lenses installed in his Glass.
When in doubt? Just use common sense.
“Water skiing, bull riding or cage fighting with Glass are probably not good ideas,” says Google.