Are you planning to become a “Glasshole”? Google suggests that you don’t, should you become one of the early adopters of Glass, Google’s Orwellian glasses with an in-built computer that allows you to record what you see and hear and look at digitised information without anyone knowing.
The tech behemoth has released an oh-so-handy list of Do’s & Don’ts for Glass users, resplendent with golden nuggets of Glass wellbeing advice that could put Confucius to shame. We’re talking about such gleaming pearls of wisdom as: “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.”
And then there’s this, which has echoes of the Four Noble Truths of Buddha, in my humble opinion: “Let’s face it, you’re gonna get some questions. […] 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.”
Also this: “Ask for permission. Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends.”
Don’t forget this nifty tip, Glass users: “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.”
Of course, stupid as this may all sound, we have to remember that Google is generally as far from stupid as a corporation can get.
So why this utterly risible list of condescending commands, written as if the human species had developed a permanent and debilitating resistance to all strains of common sense?
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My reading of all this is that Google has purposefully made this list ridiculously obvious to normalise what Glass does. By making this list – and by implication Glass’ functionality – feel so “yeah, duh!”, it subtly makes us feel that people who don’t get the basic etiquette of Glass and how to use it must be a bit thick or hopelessly old-fashioned.
Ergo, using Glass is normal (and a bit clever), which makes the technology seem far less creepy and intimidating than it actually has the potential to be.
It’s no coincidence that there are seven places in the short list where Glass is described as working just like your smartphone.
This list also subtly covers Google back. “Ask permission”, it tells us, before taking photos and making recordings, as if that was obvious.
But all too many users will be tempted to double-blink us into being recorded without our knowledge, and Google knows that all too well.
Read the full list of Do’s & Don’ts