How Not to Be a Glasshole

Google has released some etiquette rules for Google Glass, its augmented-reality headset.

While most of Google’s listed “tips” are little more than promotional material for the device’s features, including “Explore the world around you” and “Take advantage of the Glass voice commands” (as if someone would purchase Google Glass and not use the hardware), the list does include some solid advice. Chief among that counsel:

Ask for permission: It’s easy to ask, “Can I shoot a photo of you?” Friends will probably say, “Yes.” Strangers will just as likely shake their heads and walk away—but that’s much better than an altercation over you sticking your face/camera in their business.

The second decent piece of advice: Use screen lock, which passcode-protects the device. If Google Glass slips out of your possession, some kind-hearted stranger might contact Google and arrange for its return—but unfortunately, it’s also just as likely that some cold-hearted miscreant could find your Glass and, if it isn’t locked down, use it as a portal into your personal information.

Google also recommends that people don’t wear glass while participating in “high impact” sports. “Glass is a piece of technology, so use common sense,” reads the company’s note on the matter. “Water skiing, bull riding or cage fighting with Glass are probably not good ideas.” Remember, it’s not just about Glass breaking if you accidentally collide with a wall or someone else’s fist—do you really want to expose the world to your trauma if, say, you use the device to record a BASE jump gone horribly wrong? (Nobody wants to be this guy.) The only thing worse than winning a Darwin Award is having point-of-view footage of your ignoble demise end up online.

Google’s next tip veers into the glaringly obvious with don’t wear Glass and expect to be ignored, which isn’t entirely true. Although Glass is still a new device, and its Explorers field all sorts of questions from passerby, it’s unlikely that curious folks will mob a Glass wearer as soon as the latter walks out his or her door in the morning; in places where Glass is increasingly present, such as Manhattan and San Francisco, wearers can go for hours in public without much more than an odd glance from those nearby.

Last but definitely not least, Google recommends that Glass wearers don’t engage in creepy or rude behavior. “In places where cell phone cameras aren’t allowed, the same rules will apply to Glass,” the tip sheet suggests. “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.”

While Google cautions against users interacting with Glass for long stretches of time (“Don’t read War and Peace on glass. Things like that are better done on bigger screens”), the device’s battery capacity limits the hours that someone can use it before needing to recharge. (That is, unless someone adds a battery pack to the device’s growing list of accessories—but who would want an extra battery dangling in his or her face?)

Google’s etiquette list might not quiet the privacy debates that Glass has sparked over the past year, but it could encourage early adopters to better respect others’ boundaries in public.

 

Image: Google

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