For better or worse, the first interactions people have with Google Glass are through members of the Glass Explorer program who are wearing the device out in public. When those people are determined to act like idiots, that creates a problem for Glass. To head that off, Google has issued a few handy dos and don’ts for Explorers looking to take Glass with them out into public.
Reading over the list, there are a lot of common-sense suggestions, like telling users to leave Glass at home when trying high-impact sports like bull riding or cage fighting, and reminding them to use the unit’s screen lock to secure it from miscreants. But one particular tidbit stands out from the rest:
(Don’t) 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.
In other words, use common sense, you Glassholes, before you make things worse for everybody.
Judging from its statements, Google isn’t as concerned about ordinary people being made uncomfortable by Glass as they are business owners. That makes a certain amount of sense: If users can’t wear Glass while they’re out and about, they’re more likely to leave it at home, or just not buy it in the first place. While Google’s headgear won’t be impeded by a few business owners like Seattle’s Dave Minert banning Glass use in their establishments, a more widespread Glass-free campaign could really damage the product’s adoption.
In the past, Google has been less heavy-handed about telling people what they should and shouldn’t do with Glass. While the company has issued a few clear directives, like disallowing facial recognition apps, its responses to reports of average, everyday glassholery have been lukewarm. But as Google has started opening up the Explorer to more and more interested buyers, it seems they’ve realized that they can’t trust users to follow common sense.