In major metropolitan areas and in Silicon Valley, there have been a rash of sightings of people wearing Google Glass. They look like inhabitants of the future, come back to ride our subways and drink our “Ass Juice” and report back to their leaders about what the world used to be like, well before everyone had the Internet on his or her face.
Maybe you’ve seen these people around San Francisco or Mountain View, inevitably staring off into space while swiping the sides of their glasses during conversation, ignoring those around them while surfing the web or scrolling through images they’ve captured with the device. I like to call them “Glassholes.”
Glassholes aren’t just annoying because they’re wearing portable electronics that no one else can get their hands on. They’re annoying because they represent a coming time where our worst insecurities will finally come true. Today, you can usually tell when someone is being rude and looking at a cell phone. But with Google Glass it’s going to be a lot harder to tell if they’re paying attention to your conversation or just, like, watching cat videos on YouTube.*
So far, we’ve been relatively lucky in this regard. Yes, Google Glass has been out in the wild, even in places as far off as New Zealand. (I was there for that one.) But so far the hardware has been restricted for use only by Google employees. And those Google employees, at least all those I’ve seen or heard about, have been quite protective of their eyewear, refusing to let anyone touch it.
That could soon change, as a whole new group of Google Glass developers are expected to be getting their hands on the devices this week, coinciding with two meetups that Google is throwing for developers in San Francisco and New York City. Some developers we’ve talked to expect to be able to take some hardware home after the Glass Foundry events, taking place January 28 and 29 in SF and February 1 and 2 in NYC.
That will mean more Glassholes, and probably more Glasshole sightings.
What’s not clear is how protective these new Google Glass owners will be about letting other people play with the hardware. After all, it’s one thing if you’re a Google employee and you’re toting around a device that costs dozens of thousands of dollars and you don’t want it to get into the wrong hands or be broken or whatever. It’s a whole other thing if you’re a third-party developer who’s paid $1,500 to play with Google’s newest toy.
Then again, Glass Foundry participants have agreed to a pretty crazy NDA, so who knows? Maybe we won’t see as many of these things as one might expect.
Anyway, if you are one of the lucky devs who gets a pair and you want to bring it by one of the TechCrunch offices for us to test out, we promise not to call you a Glasshole to your face.
* There’s also that whole thing about Google knowing everywhere you’ve been and everything you’ve looked at, but that’s a whole other discussion.
[Photo taken by A.R. blogger Noah Zerkin who spotted Google co-founder Sergey Brin on the subway.]