Etiquette of Google Glass

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When Google invented Google Glass, they sent “explorers”out to be the first to use the product in every day life, and help answer the questions the new product may pose.  The explorers are an aid to develop the technology.  More or less, these Google Glass explorers are Google Glass advocates, giving the public their first taste of the new technology. With the emergence of “No Glass Campaigns” warning the public that the development of Google Glass poses high risks to privacy, it is clear that Google Glass explorers may not be wearing the glasses very well.

In response, Google has issued the “Do’s and Don’ts” of Google Glass wearing.  Let’s review what NOT to do:

  • Glass-out. Glass was built for short bursts of information and interactions that allow you to quickly get back to doing the other things you love. 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. So don’t read War and Peace on Glass. Things like that are better done on bigger screens.

  • Rock Glass while doing high-impact sports. Glass is a piece of technology, so use common sense. Water skiing, bull riding or cage fighting with Glass are probably not good ideas.

  • Wear it and expect to be ignored. Let’s face it, you’re gonna get some questions. Be patient and explain that Glass has a lot of the same features as a mobile phone (camera, maps, email, etc.). Also, develop your own etiquette. If you’re worried about someone interrupting that romantic dinner at a nice restaurant with a question about Glass, just take it off and put it around the back of your neck or in your bag.

  • Be creepy or rude (aka, a “Glasshole”). 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.

It is without a doubt that the integration of Google Glass will have an impact of societal norms, people to people interactions, and mass communication.  Technology give us the ability to isolate ourselves from the physical world, especially something as personal as Google Glass. “Glassing-out” is something that could pose a large concern. We all remember when family game night became family movie night. We all remember when we got our first iPhone and lost the ability to detach our phones from our bodies. The power of technology is that it sucks our focus to a plasma, and now glass, screen.  The harm of Google Glass will be this exact loss of focus. Texting and driving? Now there’s glassing and driving.  There no need to stop communicating technologically when the medium for communication is directly in front of your eyes at all times.  Technology such as Google Glass has the power to completely reshape social norms.

From a marketing standpoint, this letter to Google Glass explorers from Google can only benefit them. It highlights the fact that it is not the product that distances people from the physical world, but the user themselves. This will take the blame off of Google Glass and Google for the rising matter of user etiquette.  Without the issue of how Google Glass is used, the product itself can be portrayed as a beneficial tool for everyday activity.  However, even with Google’s proper address to etiquette, it is inevitable that the integration of this technology will alter social norms.  Similar to the conclusion of my last post, technology and media are not the problem, it is how we use these products that pose the greatest threat.

Props to Google for calling people out on the harms of their product.  Technology is no exception to the everyday rule – mind your manners.

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