Some Initial Privacy Overreaction to Google Glass is Expected
While I feel Google Glass is a great way to capture the feeling and the memories when going out with friends I can see how others, especially restaurant staff, might feel uncomfortable around them since they are so new.
The experience of one Explorer at Capitol Hill’s Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge got a bit of attention in various media last week. I read the story and tried to see both points of view.
To me it seemed that whatever the stated reason, the main intention behind the restaurant owner forbidding Google Glass was obviously to monopolize on the free PR doing so would get him.
It was a rather safe play for him. As he probably reasoned, since so few people have Google Glass right now and there is always some fear around new technology, I have more to gain than lose by over reacting. Larger establishments like Starbucks etc. would think twice before taking such a step. Being seen as anti-innovation doesn’t seem like a smart long term play. But for the first small establishment to speak out against them there will be free PR and many who at least initially will support the status quo.
One big retailer, Apple, who views Google as competition and is currently designing their own wearable computer devices have allegedly quietly implemented a ‘Do Not Approach’ rule for their employees when someone with Glass enters their stores. They probably don’t want their customers who arguably are quite impressionable in regard to tech design distracted. Quite understandable. Afterall, what would you think if in an Apple store you saw Apple employees fawning over a customer wearing Google Glasses.
I’ve spoken to a few people in corporate IT about Glass and privacy and even here, after HR and Legal get over their initial gut reaction “No Way!”, calmer heads prevail and they realize it’s no different than allowing employees to have smart phones at work. The same policy can cover both devices. In fact they actually usually realize their current smart phone policy needs updating.
Few people today seem to remember that non-camera smart phones were once marketed to employees of large corporations because they assumed there would be a market for these ‘safe’ phones. Needless to say, no one wanted a phone without a camera.
Everyone reacts differently to Glass. Some don’t notice it or don’t know what it is yet. Most people are inquisitive open and friendly. Our waitress at a high end burger bar the other day seemed a little nervous about them. Though I never took a single picture or video of her, from the nervous yet very much by the book professional service we received I got the distinct feeling she may have guessed we were sent from corporate to do some mystery shopping.
I should have probably broken the ice and said something about the glasses to get her at ease. Curious to hear what other Explorers do in situations like these?
To folks out there who see someone with Glass at a restaurant, please rest assured we are no more likely to be spying on you than the person with the smartphone seemingly answering a text message
[Full Disclosure: Tom H. C. Anderson is Managing Partner of Anderson Analytics, developers of a new patented approach to text analytics. The text analytics software platform is called OdinText]