GET THE APP:  CURRENTLY HOT:   Android Fire TV Fire TV Forums HTC One M8 Moto 360

Bar boots Glass-wearing patron for bragging rights, we’re not amused

Now that Google Glass has been roaming the world’s streets in larger numbers for a few months, the privacy debates have cooled off. I’m here to heat them back up, instigated by a bar’s Glass banning publicity stunt. If it was publicity you were seeking, 5 Point Cafe in Seattle, consider your efforts a success. But consider everything else a failure.

5-point-cafe

In March, The 5 Point Cafe went on the record by announcing they’ve banned Google Glass from their establishment. I’m fine with that. They’re a private business and should be able to make their own rules. Do I think the rule is mostly dumb and shortsighted? For sure, but dumb people are free to be dumb, an unfortunate consequence of freedom.

I understand there are two extreme schools of thought on the privacy debate, and while I understand both sides, I typically fall into the “if you’re not doing anything wrong you shouldn’t have anything to worry about” category.

The 5 Point Cafe has lots to worry about.

The bar’s slogan is “alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929″ and their Facebook page invites people to drink with them from 9AM to 2AM, showing what I can only assume are their typical patrons enjoying a day of fun.

5 Point Cafe

Ah, okay, now I can begin to understand why you would want to ban Google Glass at all costs. Probably scared of lawsuits. I’d be scared, too.

It’s a dive bar. I’m from Baltimore. I get it. We’ve got plenty. There’s an edge and attitude that somehow infer a feeling of both standoffishness and charm. But from the reviews I’ve read on Yelp and this latest stunt, I’d say they’re trying a bit too hard to be cool, and that’s the exact opposite of what dive bars are about.

Google Glass has more than its fair share of haters and detractors. Some people think they look idiotic. Others think they don’t serve enough purpose. But in many cases I think the “Glasshole” movement has become one big uninformed bandwagon of trolls looking for attention. Kids trying to impress their classmates. Hipsters being anti-establishment for the sake of being anti-establishment. Because it’s cool. They think.

If you don’t like them, don’t wear them. If you don’t want them in your restaurant or bar, fine, ban them. But please, don’t embarrass yourself by bragging about it.

Google Glass Ban

Now let’s step back and clear some things up for restaurants, bars, and other places of business who want to ban Google Glass. This is especially true for those who are banning it to protect the privacy of their patrons:

  1. When Glass is recording, the screen is on, so you’re able to visibly tell if someone is likely using Google Glass to record.
  2. To take a picture or begin recording with Glass, you must give an audible command or press a button on the top right of Glass. This is much more obvious than the equal action with a smartphone.
  3. Because Glass is affixed to your face, you’re only able to record in the direction your face is pointed, making the general subject/composition of your picture or video pretty obvious. With a smartphone, you can hide, mask, or point the device in any direction, making subtle picture taking much easier.

Smartphones are already more capable of sneakily capturing pictures and video unbeknownst to their subjects, but Google Glass takes the privacy backlash. Because, well, banning smartphones would be absurd… but it’s not much different.

From a business perspective, I can understand why a bar owner would want to ban recording devices. As if bar owners don’t have enough to deal with, openly inviting drunk people to record videos is asking for lawsuits. I’ve been to bars where the owner discreetly asked smartphone users to stop recording video. If they continue, they ask the patron to leave or confiscate their phone until they’re ready to leave. Cool, no problem. It should be the same with Glass.

Now that we’ve had some time to let the Google Glass privacy debate marinate, where do you stand on the matter? Should bars typically allow Glass, only asking patrons to remove them if they’re obviously recording in an abusive manner? Should bars expect patrons to remove glass on entry? Or should they accept the approaching omnipresence of technology and just live with it?

If you haven’t already, check out our full Google Glass Review.




  • Craig Becker

    YEP, I wouldnt want anybody with them in my bar. Same reason strip clubs dont want people “playing” with smartphones.

    • Chris Rogers

      Don’t want those cyborgs taking pics of your drinks and enjoying them, eh?

      • Craig Becker

        Perhaps some of the more fun bars have more going on in them then just drinks and card games. Maybe you guys should venture out to some more fun bars?

    • shonangreg

      It seems the solution to this is obvious. We need some bars to prohibit customers from using any recording devices and other bars to let everyone be more free with their recording. If I were to be going out with someone I did not want to be seen publicly with (ex-con, second girlfriend, a lawyer…), other than the people at the bar at the time, then I would choose the former.

      Problem solved.

      The only issue is how often people would choose the former. That metric will determine the ratio of the two. But clearly, we do need some bars that try to ensure our privacy.

  • InspectorGadget80

    the hell is wrong with these companies? GLASS haven’t even been out yet and they are still BANNING GLASS. I think someone is behind this

    • Dean Politis

      Notice that this place is in Seattle. I wonder who could be behind this

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

        Hippies. Damn their granola breath!

  • louched1

    A tech site that’s never seen the “Irish Yoga” pics before? C’mon Phandroid, you’re better then that.

    Also, get used to people having problems with you wearing Google Glasses in the US. We’re not fond of having random people putting cameras in our faces.

    • louched1

      My bad. Apparently there’s at least 1 guy who likes random people putting cameras in his face.

    • sdrawkcab25

      people do it EVERY day with their smartphones, except it is a lot easier to secretly record/take photos with a smartphone than it is with Glass. Understand the technology before you complain about it :).

      • louched1

        Where do you live that people do that everyday!? I’ve never once seen someone act in such a manner. I can understand breaking out the cell phone and recording when some event takes place, but I’ve never seen someone just waving their phone around as if they were making a video.

        Also, why do you suppose that people are recording/taking photos secretly if everyone is apparently okay with it?

        • sdrawkcab25

          that’s my point, you can’t do it secretly with glass, if someone wanted to take pictures secretly. they would use a smartphone over glass

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

      We aren’t? Thanks for speaking for the rest of us!

  • tom-e

    This just a publicity stunt, and it seems to have worked.. They have gathered a lot of attention.

    But it works both ways, people who have never heard of Glass are now reading about it only because this business has waved for the spot light and pointed out a legitimate discussion. Just makes them seem more narrow minded. People were convinced that computers were going to conquer man-kind and that the internet was the work of the devil.

    • louched1

      Would you be comfortable with someone holding up their cell phone and pointing it’s camera at you? Would it make you feel better if they said they weren’t recording you?

      • uniquename72

        If you really look around, you’ll see 3 dozen people a day pointing their cell phone cameras at you. Most of us don’t cry about it because we’re not narcissistic enough to think everyone’s photographing us.

        • No_Nickname90

          This is quite true.

        • View From The Top

          Too bad none of those aforementioned “three dozen” happen to be chicks :p

  • Spazmonic

    If it isn’t allowed in their bar they should have that photo with the no Glass up on the door before anyone walks in. If it isn’t then so be it.

  • BIGshane123456

    Rob, I agree with everything you say. This debate will continue for a long time…

  • LiterofCola

    It’s Seattle. Who cares.

  • Derek B

    The picture of the drunks on their FB page is a pic from Russia that’s been around for quite a while.

  • NIGHTSCOUT

    We all know the only reason they made such a bold statement, is for publicity.

  • Kristoffer

    If you value your “privacy” that much, stay in your house. its 2013 ANYTHING that happens ends up on FB or YT with in 15 minutes. Long story short, don’t be dumb in public and you don’t have anything to worry about. Everyone carries around a recording device….a High Def recording device even ( gotta make sure we can see who just pooped thier pants), its modern times, you can’t fight it.

    • TheHowiie

      This is quite arguably the best statement I’ve read about Glass and privacy issues.

    • hemipw54

      Have to remember though Private Property it is a no no to take pictures without consent, you can be sued for it, so if you got tonnes of money and don’t care shoot away.
      Being out in public and in a privately owned Bar is quite different.

      • Kristoffer

        that would be correct IF 1) this was a PRIVATE bar i.e. membership required, and/or 2) it was posted that taking any type of recording was forbidden. This is a PUBLIC bar, any Tom, Sally, or Sue can go there and be a patron. The fact that its not a chain like starbucks doesn’t matter; they still cater to the public. Also, other than Glass there are no other electronic bans at this place. so their “restriction” does nothing really. But like it was said, this is America! and everyone has the right to be stupid!

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

          You don’t really understand the concept of private property, do you? Your entire post is so absolutely ignorant, that I can only say “Go learn about private property rights in the US, kid.”

          You can be ejected from a bar, and if you don’t leave, they can have you arrested for trespassing. Unless this is a state-owned and run bar, you’re patronizing the establishment on the sufferance of the owner(s). If they ban something, that’s their right, and you can either comply, or leave.

          • Kristoffer

            So angry, I’m all for opposing view points, but no need to troll. Now wipe away that angry face :) Jesus love you

  • Dean Politis

    They sound more like “Glassholes” than the people wearing them.

  • Jon James

    it’s going to be a civil war. people will pick sides. glass will emerge from the ashes

  • Roaduardo

    I’m amused.

  • jim

    Was it a gay bar? That the only bar a Google glass wearer would be seen in

    • jessez93

      idiot…

    • OptimusKLP

      You would know huh?

  • jbo1018

    I find this hilarious, precisely for one of the reasons you mentioned, because smart phones have been way more capable of discretely taking photos/videos for a long time now. You don’t need to be looking at what you’re recording. It can be done with zero noise, flash, and with certain apps without the screen being on. You can always pretend to be doing something else and with Android if someone just has to check you can be looking at a different app in the time it takes them to blink.

  • SuperShrug

    Lets hope more establishments try to drum up publicity this way until it jumps the shark and the glass floodgates open.

  • Aaron Sua

    Out hipster the hipsters! Fight the establishment fighting the establishment. Get a bunch of people together to go there and get kicked out, because it’s cool to fight the man that’s cool fighting the man that…wait…where was I going with this?

  • Martin S Shepherd

    Wonder what they are going to do when the new version of GoogleGlass comes out that has the cell phone integrated into the device?

    Someone I know who work in LE stopped a regional director for Google who was wearing GGlass. The cop wore them for several minutes and when asked about the person’s cell phone was located – the director replied that Glass “was the cell phone. It is the only phone I have.” It was an alpha version of the latest iteration of Glass…..

  • http://www.greenless.com Lex Lybrand

    We need to make one thing perfectly clear: If you wear Google Glass, you are a tool.

    If you choose to be a tool, be prepared for the world to treat you like one.

    • OptimusKLP

      Why are they tools?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

        Because Lex didn’t get chosen for the Explorer program.

    • andrew__des_moines

      This is why Google is patiently running through their beta program. Lot’s of publicity, limited experimental units (yet elegantly designed). In a couple years, people may get used to the idea — or if not, it was just a Google X experiment anyway with relatively little expense and a big image boost to Google as a highly innovative hardware company.

  • iwave

    I’ll just bet they’re LOVING the extra publicity you’re giving them!

  • servo36

    slow news day phandroid? didn’t this already happen months ago.

  • uniquename72

    The 3rd generation of Google Glass will be indistinguishable from regular glasses. What exactly do the haters think they are accomplishing?

  • jessez93

    you bash them for wanting publicity yet you wrote an article about them. who cares about some douche bar in Seattle? why even waste your time typing about them?

  • OptimusKLP

    http://img197.imageshack.us/img197/1484/n0by.png

    I can’t believe someone actually responded like that. As Rob already pointed out it is easier to record someone with a phone yet people like this get paranoid since they don’t understand technology. Nearly everyone commenting on their page is a douche.

  • Mark Wheeler

    And you’re giving him media coverage… Why?
    In a sense you’re giving him what he wants. Media exposure..

  • Marcos Peña

    Not gonna lie, Glassholes is pretty funny.

  • andrew__des_moines

    The guy sitting at the table in the pic is sitting cross-legged. Only iPhone users have such little respect for their masculinity to do such a thing. I think they are more anti-Google, especially noting their giddiness about using the “glasshole” — something taken right off a vulgar Apple worshiping site.

  • Jeff B.

    Tldr;

    They must appreciate your free advertising. I’d never heard of the place and I live in Washington. Do people really wear these things? I seriously hope not.

  • ElvisMarmaduke

    Sounds like Hicksville to me…

  • rustygh

    Um all those points you certainly convinced me the bar did the right thing.
    Thanks. :)

  • SUMmaro400ex

    Well that’s one bar that will not be getting my business! Granted, I live on the other side of the country…

  • jschu22

    Let me first say that I’m all for Glass, I’m intrigued by it. I also think those banning it are being narrow minded. I don’t understand those that lash out at against that though and use the argument that a cell phone is a much more capable device to secretly record video with. Stop hanging your hat on that point because it doesnt make sense. Unless there is a red led that lights up during recording on Glass, I don’t see the rationale. Sure you can covertly record or take pics with a phone but youd still have to hold the phone in such a way to make it happen. And keep holding it that way. This doesn’t look odd to others? Glass is just sitting on your head and once a person has gotten over the initial reaction to it, its just something on a persons head.

  • jschu22

    Im curious- What do we call a Glass-wearing obnoxious Boston-area sports fan?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=708741524 Robb Nunya

      An effing Yankee. No other pejorative is quite as insulting…

      Sent from Texas :D

  • Chris H

    Rob, I miss your posts. They’re always very insightful and right-on. You bring up some great points about privacy and Glass vs Smartphone. Allowing Glass in an establishment should be up to the establishment’s discretion, but there’s no need to turn it into a fiasco. Maybe they just want their own reality TV show…?

  • jpchopper

    Honestly don’t care one way or the other. Most of us have never even seen a pair of them, let alone tried them.
    I think it’s a bit like when Bluetooth first came out. What started as a convenient accessory for driving, became the annoying person talking loudly to themselves in the middle of the supermarket aisle who you initially thought (before seeing the blue light) was on drugs.
    I think it will follow a similar path, and soon you’ll see people using glass to comparison shop that same supermarket.

  • hemipw54

    With all the debate about PRISM and GG is okay, I see said the blind man.
    GG geeks think nothing about privacy as long it is them taking the pictures/video.

  • Matt Poulsen

    You just dismissed everyone who might have issues/concerns with Google Glass. Are you doing that to be cool or do you just have an opinion on it?? To simply dismiss everyone that is anti-glass as someone trying to be cool is decidedly uninformed. Moreover, your view of privacy is remarkably naive. People concerned about google glass have a reason to be concerned.

  • samagon

    I like Neal Stephenson’s name for people wearing computers, gargoyles.

  • http://www.compassionateactionnetwork.com/ dakini_3

    As Founder of the #SeattleGlassExplorers, Seattle #throughglass Facebook and LeanIn #GlassExplorers communities I have had many long discussions with David Meinert on his position and stance banning #Glass from the 5 Point Cafe. It is his right to do so and I support his decision for his establishment. David has deep roots in the Seattle Music Community which has a rebel disdain, ethos and zeitgeist toward All Things Corporate [#Glass being the most recent manifestation]. I feel this is throwing the baby out with the bathwater although I truly understand his areas of concern.

    Here is a recent blog & VLog, which I shot as part of the Seattle #throughglass Series for the SubPop Jubilee with Charles R. Cross [Kurt Cobain & Jimi Hendrix' Biographer] which may extend this conversation: http://jerismiller.blogspot.com/2013/07/heavier-than-heaven-charles-r-cross-on.html

  • William davis

    Google glass will end up just like the so called open source android os and be a strickly
    advertising driven sink hole that Google makes everything. Google is an advertising firm
    not a tec innovator they are a tec renovator they remake other peoples ideas and add a banner ad to it. Google glass will be used to monitor your habits so it can be used to sell you crap in a more relaxed and efficient manor. its plane to see that the so called informed people are the stupid ones after all.don’t take one’s rights to privacy as stupidity. in our digital world one bad YouTube clip could end a life long career.