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Who's afraid of Google Glass? Woman attacked in SF bar over smartglasses

Early adopters or “Explorers” of Google’s smartglasses, the wearable-computing eyewear retailing for $1,500, are being met with confusion, hostility and violence.

Sarah Slocum reports attack in Molotov's for wearing Google Glass
Wikimedia Commons

Sarah Slocum, a tech writer, was in the punk bar Molotov’s on Haight Street Friday night when she was reportedly attacked.

According to her Facebook page, Slocum writes: "OMG so you'll never believe this but... I got verbally and physically assaulted and robbed last night in the city, had things thrown at me because of some wanker Google Glass haters, then some *bleeeeeeeeeep* tore them off my face and ran out with them then and when I ran out after him his *bleeeeeeep* friends stole my purse, cellphone wallet and everything.

"I called the cops right after it happened and they never showed up... Decided to go home after waiting 30-45 minutes."

Slocum was able to retrieve her Glass and filed a police report with the SFPD on Saturday, Feb. 22.

“Will follow up with them with the pics and videos as soon as I get them off of glass. I'm still in shock... All I could say and still say is I can't believe it,” she posted to Facebook.

"Holy crap Im tripping out again like it was last night. Everyone is going crazy and I have to speak to the press about it." Slocum said.

While many showed genuine concern for Slocum's safety the discussion became heated and contentious.

“Getting attacked was wrong but you were being kind of clueless to be wearing them in a bar like Molotov and to be recording without permission. Have you not read the code of etiquette from Google. The Glass camera function is no different from a cell phone so behave as you would with your phone and ask permission before taking photos or videos of others," Gene Keenan posted.

“I was not recording anything until one of the girls turned around and flicked me off and started calling me names,” Slocum said.

On Feb. 23 at 6:09 p.m. Slocum posted “I hope this doesn't deter anyone from getting Google Glass. Usually the experience is 180 degrees different, and right before this happened I was showing one of the normal, excited and curious individuals there how it works, letting them try it on and demonstrating it for them.”

Slocum went on to call the experience "a hate crime."

“I'm sorry, hate crime??? For wearing google glasses? Are you serious? How can you be so out of touch? Do you know what a hate crime is?” wrote Junji Harlow.

Judah Phillips said, "It's okay to be a glasshead. I feel bad for what happened to you. In the same sense you perceive this to be a hate crime - perhaps these people perceived you as violating their 4th amendment right to be free of illegal search. It's a fine line you are walking - and I wouldn't be wearing my glass in bars. I also think concluding a Hate crime is probably an overstatement."

"Acts of violence are never justified, but can you at least acknowledge how people who are unfamiliar with the glass could find it intrusive? Perhaps there is a little lesson in the mix for you? Maybe a social bar setting isn't the time or place to flaunt your fancy spy toy. I don't make it a habit of pointing my cellphone at fellow bar patrons.... Same should apply. This conversation would be a lot more meaningful if you saw your role in the scuffle a little more honestly," Faryl Cat posted.

Frustration over Glass continues to grow. On Monday, Glass Explorer Steven Mautone was asked to leave Grand Coffee on Mission Street due to what he calls "a huge amount of confusion about the device."

The dilemma for Mautone is his Glass is "integrated with my frames, what am I supposed to do other than leave the establishment? I have a pretty ridiculously strong prescription.

"Granted, it is a private establishment and a rather small space, the first thing I asked the manager was 'Have you ever worn Glass? Do you know what it's all about?' Her response was quickly 'No.' But she went on to say that she doesn’t want customers or employees to feel uncomfortable. I asked if she doesn’t allow cellphones either and she said she asks that people don’t talk on their cellphone while in the store. Talking on your cellphone in a small space and wearing glasses seem like totally different things, right? I was asked to sit outside if I wanted to stay for coffee," Mautone wrote on his blog

"I really wish that Google would step up and truly educate the public about Glass. Let’s see television commercials! Let’s see a Google representative appear on talk shows and showcase the real way to use Glass! Let’s see Google reach out to local communities and explain that Glass doesn’t cover up your vision and is not a distraction.

"It’s been almost a year. Glass is not a new thing anymore. Why is there still this confusion and fear? I'm not recording you."

Matt Lyons responded, "Is this a thing now? An article to come out every single time a Google Glass explorer is asked politely to remove Glass, says no, gets kicked out then try and paint that establishment as a bunch of stupid knuckledraggers that don't understand this shiny new technology?

"I'm sorry, but this is yet another example of explorers failing their end of the bargain, not the other way around. If someone wants to learn about Glass, great! Teach them. If they don't want you to wear it around customers and make them uncomfortable in their private business then don't. Quit trying to force it down people's throats. If you want to attach a $1,500 piece of equipment to your prescription glasses and not carry a spare without it that's your problem, not theirs.

"Every single one of these articles that comes out does nothing but continue to paint the picture that Glass wearers are elitist a-holes that feel they should be able to wear a camera on their head everywhere. Even if it's not the case (and I know it's not) that's the perception you guys keep giving by doing shit like this.

"Write an angry letter in private or something, you know like an adult, but don't continue to make Glass wearers look like tools to prove a point against a business that requested you didn't wear it for a short period of time in their own place of business. I'm extremely excited about Glass and want it to succeed but crap like this is killing that excitement rapidly," Lyons continued.

"Yes, Explorers are supposed to educate people about Glass, but if they don't want to learn about it that's fine. Let Google handle trying to attract users that don't like Glass. I can guarantee they won't do it by writing articles calling out restaurants that requested Glass not be warn.

"Also, the most hilarious line in this post: "How is it that with so many thousands of Explorers there is still this huge amount of confusion about the device?" Wow a whole thousands! I think someone is deep, DEEP inside of a bubble."

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