It seems that some people in the huge technology hub that is San Francisco are not embracing the technology you’d think they’d want to embrace. And some people think that Google Glass will never work.
First there was the woman who claimed she was attacked for wearing Google Glass in a bar in the Lower Haight neighbourhood in San Francisco. Then came the bar that actively banned Google Glass from the premises.
That bar was soon followed by other bars and even a pet store.
Susie Cagle, a freelance journalist who lives in the Bay Area, wrote and illustrated an article about her experience with Glass. Here’s what she thinks is a major problem with the device:
While tools can certainly facilitate bad behaviour, technology does not breed human monsters.
This is essentially the defence of the aggressive, entitled Glass-wearer: We’ve already decided against privacy, we’ve given it up, there’s nothing left to preserve, and to wish or work toward any other future is to be an enemy of technology’s promise. …
… We do not need to redefine etiquette for a new century of innovation — society needs to decide where its values truly lie.
If you happen to be in San Francisco and want to enjoy a frosty beverage or grab a bite in a Glass-free zone, you won’t be left out in the cold.
Daen de Leon, a software engineer at a genetic testing company who lives in San Francisco, has compiled a list of places that ban Google Glass. And the list is growing.
Right now there are 13 bars and restaurants in San Francisco that have a “no Glass” policy. There are also a handful in Seattle and Oakland, Calif.
The places range from casual bars, such as Zeitgeist in the Mission (that also has really great burgers), to the more upscale, such as Italian restaurant Acquerello.
de Leon tells Business Insider that he started the list after the incident at Molotov’s, a bar in the Lower Haight neighbourhood in San Francisco, where a woman named Sarah Slocum said she was attacked for wearing Glass in the bar.
He wasn’t there when it happened, but he frequents the bar often. And after talking to witnesses, he says, he “found her assumption that, as a complete stranger, she could enter a bar and just start recording regular customers without their permission quite disturbing.”
He says he also knows the people who run The Willows and The Sycamore (two San Francisco restaurants that ban Google Glass), and that he decided to put together a site that lists like-minded bars.
“I think people should at least have some reassurance that they can let off a bit of steam and be silly for an evening without it being splashed all over YouTube without their prior knowledge (as the Slocum footage is),” he says.
Paul Ringhofer-Miller, who owns two bars in San Francisco, Truck and Rebel, has seen people wearing Glass in his bars. “We have had people wearing them, and I did have to ask to take them off,” he tells Business Insider. “But we don’t have a policy.”
But de Leon thinks that more bars will start banning Glass as the trend continues. The website Stop The Cyborgs offers free downloadable Google Glass ban signs, and it even has a store where you can purchase T-shirts that relay the same message.
“Clearly, Glass is qualitatively different to other similar technology, and Google knows it: Samsung doesn’t issue etiquette guidelines for their phones, and doesn’t coin pejorative terms for people who don’t follow them (although you could maybe argue that they should!),” he says, referring to Google’s guidelines for wearing Glass. “Many bars and restaurants are aware that many of their customers are uncomfortable being around an intrusive technology like Glass, so I expect the list to keep growing.”
Not everyone in San Francisco is against Glass, however. One bar at the Stanford Court Hotel in the Nob Hill neighbourhood is giving bar patrons a free drink if they wear Glass.
As for de Leon ever donning a pair of Glass himself, he says that he hasn’t tried it, and doesn’t think he wants to:
Glass is an interesting bit of kit. But there is (to get a bit Saussurian) a set of semiotic signals that come with it that people are neither familiar nor comfortable with: the impinging of a high-tech headset between the wearer and the rest of the world, and the suite of rather intrusive (and easily activated) recording capabilities, can make people around the wearer very uncomfortable. In a bar, that’s not a good situation to put yourself — or anyone else — in.