One year wearing Google Glass: ‘Look at that asshole’

“For much of 2013, I wore the future across my brow, a true Glasshole peering uncertainly into the post-screen world,” Mat Honan reports for Wired. “Here’s what I learned.”

“Glass is socially awkward. Again and again, I made people very uncomfortable. That made me very uncomfortable,” Honan reports. “People get angry at Glass. They get angry at you for wearing Glass. They talk about you openly. It inspires the most aggressive of passive aggression. Bill Wasik refers apologetically to the Bluedouche principle. But nobody apologizes in real life. They just call you an asshole.”

“The few times I’ve seen multiple people wearing Glass in public, they’ve kept to self-segregated groups,” Honan reports. “At the party, but not of it. Worse is the evangelism, full of wide-eyed enthusiasm that comes across as the arrogance of youth and groupthink,” Honan reports. “It has its own lingo, its own social norms, and of course you must pay top dollar to enter.”

a prototypical glasshole
A prototypical Glasshole
“And yet I’m one of them. I know that I’ve enraged people because I’ve heard them call me an asshole,” Honan reports. “‘Look at that asshole,’ they say. And I always sort of agree.”

“My Glass experiences have left me a little wary of wearables because I’m never sure where they’re welcome. I’m not wearing my $1,500 face computer on public transit where there’s a good chance it might be yanked from my face. I won’t wear it out to dinner, because it seems as rude as holding a phone in my hand during a meal. I won’t wear it to a bar. I won’t wear it to a movie. I can’t wear it to the playground or my kid’s school because sometimes it scares children,” Honan reports. “It is pretty great… as long as you are not around other people, or do not care when they think you’re a knob. When I wear it at work, co-workers sometimes call me an asshole. My co-workers at WIRED, where we’re bravely facing the future, find it weird. People stop by and cyber-bully me at my standing treadmill desk. Do you know what it takes to get a professional nerd to call you a nerd? I do. (Hint: It’s Glass.)”

“You can make fun of Glass, and the assholes (like me) who wear it. But here’s what I know: The future is on its way, and it is going to be on your face,” Honan reports. “We need to think about it and be ready for it in a way we weren’t with smartphones. Because while you (and I) may make fun of glassholes today, come tomorrow we’re all going to be right there with them, or at least very close by. Wearables are where we’re going. Let’s be ready.”

Much more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take:

I wear glasses because I have to; I don’t know a lot of people that wear them that don’t have to. They want them to be light and unobtrusive and reflect their fashion… I think from a mainstream point of view [glasses as wearable computing devices] are difficult to see. I think the wrist is interesting. The wrist is natural.Apple CEO Tim Cook, May 28, 2013

Related articles:
Why an Apple iWatch has better chances than Google Glass – November 6, 2013
Apple’s Siri lambastes Google Glass – August 26, 2013
Google Glass ban list grows; top 10 places banning Google Glass – August 7, 2013


  1. As someone who wears glasses, I find it royally strange that people would actually want to wear glasses…for fashion purposes. You guys are lucky! I am REQUIRED to wear mine to have a regular life. You hipsters think you can make a disibility tool hip? What next? Magazines subtitled in Braille? Wheelchairs marketed as “personal transportation devices” ADHD medicine marketed as “study aids”?
    This Google Glass nonsense is making glass wearers look like geeky tools.

    1. Wayne, I get what you’re saying. But I think you blow it a bit out of proportion. I have worn glasses for many, many years, and I do not consider myself “disabled.” I certainly don’t put myself in the same category as someone who is blind, unable to walk, or has ADHD. Just saying.

    2. This blogger is trying to say one thing and do another. Look back at the NFC chatter going on for the last 2 years. The pro NFC blogger pretended that if they screamed “NFC” loud enough, Apple and the rest of the world would ” fall in line.” Fortunately for us all, Apple rejected NFC. Now they figure that if they scream “Google glasses” loud enough, they can once again attempt to bring it to reality. I say “nice try!!” Nobody but the Android audience cares, that is, if the majority even cares.

    3. Tim Cook has never been to China apparently. It is all the rage to wear glasses, sans any glass in them. Young kids all over wear just empty frames. It looks beyond stupid, yet is extremely popular.

      1. You know, I spend a lot of time in China, including fashion conscious places such as Shanghai, and I have never seen the trend that you describe. I think it’s odd that a phenomenon that you describe as “extremely popular” has been completely invisible to me. Are you speaking from direct personal experience, or is this just total BS being used to take a cheap shot at Tim Cook?

    4. Wayne, people who have to wear glasses also choose to wear frames and lenses that are, in some way or other, ‘fashionable’, or look good on them. They’re not forced to do that, and there’s also the option of wearing contact lenses, which then allow them to wear fashionable sunglasses instead. I do both, and I’m in no way ‘disabled’ by that.
      Methinks you doth protest too much.

        1. Pretty much considered illegal to take photos of kids here without express permission of their parents. I think it would in many circumstances be like wearing a sign saying ‘Peadophile at work’ plus people don’ t like the idea of people pointing a secret camera at them . So I can see lots of trouble brewing with this device and a violent reaction is inevitable. We worry about big brother keeping an eye on us, when they do so under highly restrictive ‘rules of engagement’ yet we would accept any disreputable character secretly filming us and displaying the results to anyone and anywhere for any purpose of their or their Masters choice while rubbing it in your face that they can do it if they choose. I am amazed that in light of recent events we are even considering this sort of spying on the public is acceptable.

        2. Spy, in the UK it’s perfectly legal to take photos of anything or anybody IN ANY PUBLIC SPACE. Somewhere like a school, or shopping precinct, however, is down to the operators or owners. Schools go too far, though, in banning the taking of photos of children at school events by using ‘data protection’ as an excuse; there is nothing whatsoever in data protection law that prevents any parent photographing their child at a school play, nativity, or sports event.
          And that’s a fact.

        3. You said you would be polite about it and you better damn well be or they will tell you to f-off and mind your own business.
          Oh, and good luck proving in court that he was really doing anything wrong, ie really taking covert video of you.
          BTW there are far cheaper eye glass cameras than Glass so don’t assume strangers are paying 1500 to spy on you

      1. I’ll not be walking away if I’m in Starbucks, enjoying a relaxing cup of coffee.

        And any Glasshole around the kids’ playground is going to have a helluva lot more to worry about than my kids maybe being nervous.

        And Bizlaw – there’s a lot of difference between distance shots and somebody sitting four feet away from be taking video or shooting video. I don’t know if that focussed personal attention is legal or not, but even if it is, I’ll not be putting up with it.

        1. I’ve heard there are a few places where police have cameras over their ears to take constant video while working to avoid any legal problems later as well as record anything that may be useful in responding to a crime in progress.. Google glass may just be used in those situations and become more commonplace.. Also I understand quite a few transit vehicles now have cameras installed for a similar purpose.. Adding Google Glass in the public video mix doesn’t seem that much more of an imposition nowadays..

        1. Jubei, for what? In the UK mate, you’d get laughed out of court unless it was a child, and a picture of something not commonplace….

          “Photography of certain subject matter is restricted in the United Kingdom. In particular, the Protection of Children Act 1978 restricts making or possessing pornography of under-18s, or what looks like pornography of under-18s. However, the taking of photographs of children in public spaces is not illegal. (protection of children act link”

          Get angry at me for wearing Google Glass but if you touched ME, I’d sue you, either way your wrong lol

        2. however don’t take my post wrong, I entirely see where your coming from, had I children it would bother me (as and when these are more common in the wild), however the law sides with those behind the camera lense some what

    1. This is exactly the problem with Google Glass. It enables people to easily and covertly shoot photos or video without any easy to know if the camera is active. With most other devices, it’s much easier to tell that the owner is shooting. Maybe the incorporation of a conspicuous, flashing red LED whenever the camera is active may somewhat ease the minds of potential camera “victims”. Google Glass is a manifestation of Google’s philosophy in general, to covertly gather data, or whatever else from your private behaviors, in order to make money off it. It is too bad that these negative factors more than outweigh the potential benefits of the cool heads-up display innovations.

    1. Hilarious! I’m seeing visions of this nerdy putz on his treadmill with the ‘Glass. He’s probably also wearing a beanie-fan cap with a beer/soda dispensing tube to his mouth. I can imagine his productivity level. When he finally reaches his multitasking limits, he’ll be in a steaming pile at the foot of the treadmill. Maybe he’ll be able to sell his self-shot the video of that!

  2. The problem I see with google glass is that people are as uncomfortable as someone holding their smartphone up to your face. People are just not comfortable with the possibility of being recorded. All new devices take time to shake out.
    The telegraph was invented in 1832. It took 175 years before people started using it as their favorite form of communication

  3. Glasshole Idiots like Mat Honan will be the first to sign up at future Borg recruitment offices. Only too late will they go “NOOOooooo!” Get a clue. These things are NOT the future unless we want to continue on the soulless path of privacy invasiveness and inhumanity to man.

    1. The Borg!
      THAT’S why I’ve always felt a little creeped out when I saw photos of people wearing those glasses. Never could quite put my finder on it till now.

      1. I don’t think it’s fair for anyone to just capture your likeness without permission and then possibly post it online. I work in the film biz and we have to get signed permission from people to do that or post huge warning signs that if they are in the area they may be photographed. There are no such warnings from some Glasshole dweeb who surreptitiously records you. Your far too young and foolish if you don’t see a problem with this going unchecked.

  4. Wearables are in our future, but they’re not going to be on our faces. Google Glass will be banned for use while driving, movie theaters won’t let you bring it in, and many people are simply creeped out by them and so will either not associate with you when you wear them or will be very rude or even violent.

    There’s already a social stigma about using your phone in front of other people when having a conversation, but that will be magnified ten fold with wearables like Google Glass.

    No, wearables will take the form of a watch, devices sewn into clothing for athletic purposes, shoe monitors, etc. etc. There comes a point where people revolt against being too connected all the time, and Google Glass clearly passes this point.

    1. On the contrary, Google Glass may be suited for use while driving. It is hands free, will allow a form of affordable HUD for vehicles lacking such features and is perfect for capturing video for use in case an accident occurs to or in view of the driver.

      1. Much more likely to be the CAUSE of the accident. New studies have shown that hands-free devices don’t significantly reduce the effect of distracting the driver. More accidents will continue to happen whenever drivers multitask beyond their capabilities.

  5. steer a google glass owner in the wrong direction like :

    “hey dude there’s a street party around the corner with cool chicks and they’re giving out free drinks” while of course around the corner is the favourite ‘business’ hangout of the local biker gang (big hairy dudes) and their druggie distributors…

  6. One time, I was riding the subway to work, minding my own business. I saw a guy board the train wearing Google Glasses, listening to Beats by Dre headphones, and smoking an e-cigarette. I had little choice but to punch him in the nuts as hard as I could, and hope that would be enough to render him infertile. Everyone on the subway train cheered. He thanked me, then I got off at the next stop to find a place to wash my hands.

    1. Your touching story brought a tear to my eye – thank you for what you did for all of humanity and for sharing it with us.
      Let’s all move forward into 2014 and follow your stellar example!

    1. There’s a far better system of vision correction that’s being used in the UK, which is a total corneal transplant of the lens. Once implanted, corrections can be made, then fixed permanently, and the new lens means that cataracts will never be a problem for the wearer.
      Not cheap, but then neither is laser treatment, which is notoriously unpredictable. My eyesight would be made far worse, for example.

  7. In 1988/89 I called people waiting in line to check out their groceries, talking on their cellphones, assholes. Now in 2013 – 2014 not only do I have two of them, my wife and three kids all have phones along multiple electronic devices. What is socially awkward today, can become the social norm in the future, and unless they truly are just a fad, the same will come to pass for wearables.

  8. What’s wrong with this forum! Not everyone wearing Google glasses is a creepy pervert, have a little faith in humanity. Glass is a cool piece of innovation that can develop into something awesome. My only gripe with it is it’s 1500 dollar price tag.
    This article feels like bull or this guy has a habit of running into jerks. My friend has Google glass & Iam really jealous. He says that glass generally attracts positive attention and that most people want to try it on & see how it works.

    1. That’s because it is a novelty fact is it is a potential breach of people’s human rights and when thousands of exploitative photos appear online that they were unaware were being taken there will be a backlash. And rightly so. There is little in this world to promote faith in at least a substantial section of humanity and 1 in 20 would be a pretty scary proposition with a device like this. 1984 here we come.

  9. “You can make fun of Glass, and the assholes (like me) who wear it. But here’s what I know: The future is on its way, and it is going to be on your face,” Honan reports. “We need to think about it and be ready for it in a way we weren’t with smartphones. Because while you (and I) may make fun of glassholes today, come tomorrow we’re all going to be right there with them, or at least very close by. Wearables are where we’re going. Let’s be ready.”

    He’s certainly not speaking for me. I would distance myself from any dumbass who has one of these abominations on.

    1. I agree. I don’t understand all the negativity. I believe there are infinite possibilities with displays built into eyeglasses. And, I believe something like this could be the catalyst that makes something like an iWatch revolutionary.

      I predict that, despite all you know-it-alls dismissing this technology today, Apple will be embracing this technology in the next two years. Apple, of course, will do it their way and their way will be more intuitive and capable than what Google will be offering. That’s the true Apple way — taking technology and creating the software that puts it head and shoulders above the rest.

    2. I can see some of the benefits but implementing this as glasses is not the best way as it is always on. Perhaps a kind of flip up/down visor would be better. It would provide a HUD Internet connection when needed but would be off and out of the way the rest of the time.

  10. Welcome to the world of people who have to wear prescription eyewear and were teased about it while growing up. Glass, which is bulkier than prescription eyewear, does not help, and is actually worse. What’s worse than somebody who has to wear glasses? One who is also anti-social! Glass is a type of anti-social in-your-face device that flies in the face of people you’re talking to who feel your full attention is not being given. If Glass becomes unpopular, it will be because it has created unintended consequences of making more anti-social than they already are. Time will tell.

  11. I run a business and if ANYONE comes into my building wearing those things they can go straight home again.

    I wear glasses because my eyes are poor – not because I want to record everything.

    And if I see anyone wearing those things while driving I will be phone the police and reporting them.

    Glass is an impracticle device. Re-think the concept google, or can’t you do that because you have no ideas?

    1. Having Google Glass on doesn’t imply that they are recording everything.. That’s like saying everything your smartphone ‘sees’ is being recorded. The user has to set something like that and there also has to be enough memory to record a significant amount of said video. If you think about it Google Glass and such wearable ‘glass’ devices could be just the type of devices iBeacon was created to compete against.

    2. LOL

      Love a good technophobe, what would you say to the police, “I’ve just passed a guy wearing google glass whilst he was driving, he wasn’t actually touching it or looking away from the road, but I thought I’d better let you know!”, how would the rest of that conversation go….

      Whilst I don’t want a pair of Google Glass, I have had a play about with them and they are where the future is headed, wearable computing, as pointed out further up these comments, what is weird now, could be the norm in the future.

      Don’t be so closed minded to something that has AMAZING possibilities, for example, a surgeon operating on you, being able to video conference with a colleague to ask advise etc…. tell me that for you that would still be an impracticle.

      Think things through before being so condescending

  12. One thing I wonder: Is the average person on the street able to notice Glass so easily. I understand tech guys and tech davy people to be able to notice it easily. But i’d expect most people to be oblivious to it unless the Glass wearer is making it noticeable or something.

  13. People are rightly disturbed when someone wearing an internet connected camera comes into their presence.

    Some of the same people say they are NOT disturbed when told the NSA is hacking every device connected to the Internet and is wholesale warehousing it in data centers. They claim that if you are not doing anything wrong you should not care.

    Now we hear that various Federal agencies and some others have the ability to turn on your iPhone/iPad/iMac camera without you knowing it- same for voice bugging through the infusion of malware, among other means.

  14. In 5 to 10 years, when this is “normal” (a debatable point), Apple and others will have undercut Google with an accessory to a smartphone that essentially accomplishes the same thing and uses Bluetooth. Everyone thinks that Apple can be undercut, but the truth is Apple has the supply chain to undercut anyone else. Who is going to buy Google Glass when there is one without a receiver for $300 or less.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.