Despite Google Glass being one nifty piece of kit, there is a backlash against the optical marvels as private businesses and governments are instituting a Google Glass ban in growing numbers. There are various reasons why the wearable tech marvels are getting 86-ed; in some cases it’s due to potential behaviors and in others it’s over privacy concerns. Wearable technology, such as Android or Apple watches and so forth, is one of the next big frontiers for tech companies, so once Google Glass becomes more widely available it is a concern for people who want to buy this stuff.
A Google Glass ban announced in UK after one week on sale
Within one week of release in the United Kingdom, a Google Glass ban was announced by a chain of British cinemas, according to The Independent. Vue Cinemas is concerned over the possibility of patrons pirating movies, though the headsets light up when recording
(making them easy to spot) and can only take about 45 minutes of video before depleting their batteries. Patrons are being asked to remove their headsets if they show up wearing them.
Not The Only Ones
Vue Cinemas is among other single establishments and chains enacting a Google Glass ban, some being private and others public. According to Time magazine, the famous (some say infamous) Alamo Drafthouse theater in San Francisco likewise recently announced a ban; various businesses in Seattle, according to Seattle CBS affiliate KIRO TV are telling people to take the Glass off or hit the road.
According to Motherboard, a number of states have preemptively banned wearing Google Glass while driving – except for police. (The potential applications for police officers are numerous.) According to The Telegraph, theaters across the U.S. and the U.K. are banning Google Glass, but so are casinos (New Jersey and Nevada casinos are already banning them), strip clubs and restaurants.
Hospitals are still working on protocols, as there are practical applications as well as dangers.
Ounce Of Prevention
The issues with Google Glass are the potential for wrong doing. Though many are increasingly concerned with privacy in the wake of Edward Snowden’s whistle blowing, the devices probably aren’t a pipeline to intelligence services. Data harvesting for commercial purposes (kind of like what Google, Facebook, Apple and others do with browser cookies and so forth) and unwanted filming/recording by Google Glass wearers are more pertinent.
Google has a guide on how to not be obnoxious, or how not to be what are called “Glassholes.” For the moment, business owners are directing staff to tell wearers to stash the devices or else, but there is also a free program that provides a “nuclear option,” according to Wired. The program, “Glasshole.sh”, latches onto a bespoke code generated by Google Glass when it connects to a WiFi network, and boots them. The program, developed by Kiwi-born Berliner and artist Julian Oliver, is being disseminated freely online.
Google Glass is one seriously cool piece of kit and at the cutting edge of wearable computing technology. It isn’t even finished yet, technically; the current version, which according to Forbes costs $1,500, is a late-stage beta version. Thus, hardly anyone has one and hardly anyone can afford it – at least for now. The final product could go for $200 or less. That said, the potential misuses could result in a Google Glass ban that makes the headsets almost unusable in public places.