Of all the various etiquette guides to emerge with prescriptions for the inaugural class of Glassholes, there has been one recurring piece of advice that probably won't please Google: The most polite thing a Google Glass owner can do is not wear Google Glass at all. Because the face computer looks "dorky" and presents privacy concerns, Glass-heads can alarm and offend those of us outfitted less technologically. So, among other useful tips from and for early adopters — beyond, you know, "don't be a dick" — the main takeaway on how to use Google's glasses of the future is a kind of anti-user's guide. Like so:
Rule No. 1, Option A: Take Glass off in the bathroom.
"There are certain things that go without saying, but we have to remind ourselves. This thing has a camera, but — whether you intend to use it or not — you might not want to have it in the bathroom," Noble Ackerson, a member of the Glass Explorers group that created some illustrated etiquette cards (pictured at right), told NBC News. This option also applies to most other locations where people expect full privacy, like the aesthetician's parlor, the confessional booth, or in any meeting space with a lock on the door.
Rule No. 1, Option B: Take Glass off in all inappropriate settings. "Be courteous and take the device off in locker rooms, public bathrooms, business meetings, movie theaters and anywhere else where wielding a camera would be improper or offensive," writes Kevin Sintumuang, in his Glass ethics piece for The Wall Street Journal. That last clause of this option — "anywhere else where wielding a camera would be improper or offensive" — lends itself to a lot more situations than just the bathroom and its brethren. Especially in the beginning of face camera's cycle of acceptance, those boundaries extend further than they do for standard cameras because, you know people don't really like the idea that someone can record them with little fanfare. (All a Glass user has to do to start a video or camera recording is say, "Okay, Glass, take a video." There is also winking.)
Rule No. 1, Option C: Take Glass off when meeting new people. Mobile tech consultant Lisa Oshima hangs Glass around her neck when meeting someone for the first time 'so Glass is not the first thing people notice,'" according to CNET. Of course, it's hard to know exactly when you'll meet someone new:
Saw a dude wearin google glass at a party last night. I kinda wanted to talk to him about it but who the fuck wears google glass to a party?— Mike Dahlquist (@Mikediva) May 6, 2013
This Google Glass stranger option should also extend to new-ish acquaintances, given how jarring Glass really is. Which is to say that no one should wear Google Glass in most public places, if they're worried about freaking people out due to imminent human interaction.
Rule No. 1, Option D: Take Glass off whenever it makes anyone feel weird. "If someone is uncomfortable, you're going to need to be ready to re-assure and educate, or take your Glass off," writes Glass user Eric Schrag on this Google+ comment thread about Glass Etiquette. So far the glasses have made a lot of people very uncomfortable for being "obnoxious and invasive." In a public setting with a lot of people around, it's pretty likely that someone in, say, a subway car or public park finds your robot face rather off-putting.
If you're worried about offending people with your fancy new gadget anywhere you go, the good news is that you can still show off the status symbol with these various different ways to hang Glass anywhere but your face.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.