Google Glass has a lot of people pretty freaked out. Like most misunderstood new technologies, Glass is being attacked and questioned at every turn. It's either deemed useless or dangerous by its detractors, who more often than not don't actually know anything about the wearable other than the supposed fact that Glass users are dead-set on invading their privacy.
Recently, a tech writer named Sarah Slocum was harassed and robbed for wearing Glass at a San Francisco bar. Other patrons reportedly thought she was filming them and felt that their privacy was being invaded. Now, another bar called Willows, also in San Francisco, has banned the wearable device within its establishment. The bar posted a sign on its door to inform incoming patrons of the new rule. The sign is reminiscent of the no smoking signs you see at restaurants, but instead of showing a cigarette, it shows Glass.
"Our patrons have expressed concern with being recorded while enjoying themselves at the Willows," the sign outside the bar reads. "Kindly Remove Before Entering."
The bar's owner, Trista Bernasconi, told a local news station that she is just being "proactive" and wants to respect the privacy of her bar's patrons. Many of Willows' patrons seem to agree with her decision.
"I think it's a great idea. People want to feel comfortable when they go out and drink," one regular at Willows told the news station.
Meanwhile, the tech savvy are rebelling against the ban, saying that privacy concern are unfounded. Google Glass explorer Robert Scoble says that Glass is actually less invasive than it looks. It is, in fact, less provocative than a smartphone, in many ways.
"People walk in the bathroom with their cell phone in their hand all the time, and that's far more intrusive," he said. "With my Google Glass, I have to stand next to you and look at you. And then I have to either touch my glasses or say 'Google Glass, take a picture.'"
"My brother owns a bar in Virginia and he says 'Man everybody takes pictures in the bar with smartphones!'" he added.
Glass users also argue that the wearable does many other things besides take photos and videos. Glass' many applications make it invaluable in social situations such as drinking in a crowded bar, where you might not want to have your smartphone out. There's also the fact that as a wearable device, Glass can serve more than one function. Many Glass users now have the prescription frames, so they actually need Glass to see. Bans like the one at Willows don't take that fact into account and many Glass users think that the ban is unfair and prejudiced.
Scoble thinks that once Glass becomes more mainstream the negative attitude towards Glass will change.
"When the price drops and people actually get to play with them, it won't be such a big deal," he said. "Until then, we're going to have this friction between haves and have-nots."