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How not to be a glasshole, according to Google

Ever since Google started allowing ordinary people to use Glass at its I/O developer’s conference in 2012, people have been expressing concerns about privacy and how exactly they should be used.

As more and more “explorers” get their hands on Glass those concerns are only going to increase. It makes sense then that Google’s published a list of dos and don’ts for its piece of geek-chic wearable tech.

The “Dos” list includes a fair amount of “sunshine and rainbows” style advice, suggesting that you “Explore the world around you”, “be an active and vocal member of the Glass Explorer Community” and “take advantage of the Glass voice commands”.

It does however address a couple of serious concerns around not being, what some have termed, a “Glasshole”. The part telling explorers that they should ask for permission before recording with Glass is particularly illuminating:

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 Glass camera function is no different from a cell phone so behave as you would with your phone and ask permission before taking photos or videos of others.

The “Don’ts” section meanwhile reads a little bit like Google trying address every dystopian nightmare scenario dreamed up by Glass detractors.

I mean, why else would it feel compelled to tell people not to “Glass-out” and that “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”?

On the other hand, there are also points that make you feel that some members of the Glass Explorer community shouldn’t be allowed out of the house without supervision. It was apparently necessary, for instance, to explain that you shouldn’t use Glass for high impact sports such as cage fighting, bull riding or water-skiing (sky-diving is apparently fine, especially if you’re a Google founder).

That said, some of the advice is sound — and boils down to being nice and patient until people get used to the technology.

In fact, the most pertinent piece of “don’t be a Glasshole” advice could pretty much be applied to any emerging technology:

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.

Author | Stuart Thomas

Stuart Thomas
Stuart is the editor-in-chief of Engage Me Online. After pursuing an MA in South African literature, he spent five years reporting on the global technology scene. Intrigued by the intersection of technology and work, he joined Engage Me as the editor-in-chief. He is a passionate runner, and recently ran... More

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