72 percent say no to Google Glass because of privacy

A study from market research firm Toluna suggests there is considerable emotional opposition to the idea of people wearing Glass in public.

bringglass.png
Google co-founder Sergey Brin wearing Glass. Privacy? Zuck says it doesn't exist. Google/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Like a bunny girl in a nunnery, Google Glass is struggling for acceptance.

What once seemed like a new technological light at the end of the tunnel, now merely engenders fears that the light is trying to film you.

The latest evidence for this is a study by market research firm Toluna. This study tried to discover Americans' deeper feelings about Google's fine gadget.

Americans do have deeper feelings and, as Adweek reports, this research threw up that 72 percent of people won't buy Google Glass because of privacy concerns.

They're afraid of hacking, surreptitious photography and filming, and looking like extras from a D-level sci-fi movie. (Well, they didn't actually say that last one.)

Though Google Glass was launched with a wave of fascination, its public presence has caused a flood of consternation.

There was the Glass-wearer in a Seattle restaurant who refused to take off his Glass and was therefore asked to take off. Indeed, the restaurant suggested he was a man-child "stinkin' up the joint."

Then there was the man in an Ohio movie theater who suddenly found his Glass being ripped from his face, not by a disgruntled patron, but by the forces of the law.

San Francisco is, of course, yet to recover from a bar altercation that seems to have been incited by the presence of Glass on a patron's face.

Google itself seems aware that the nation isn't warming as much as the company had hoped. First, it released a guide to help Glass explorers not be Glassholes. Yes, they needed to be told.

This didn't seem to be enough. For then Google issued a curious defensive blog post explaining all the things that Glass wasn't. Like a surveillance device, a threat to privacy, or a fashion statement.

Though every piece of research should be taken with a tincture of saline, this piece suggested that privacy was by far the biggest concern. Next came distraction.

This seems odd, as many people are only too keen to invite more distraction into, for example, their cars.

It seems strange these days to see a driver not fiddling with their phone to get the right music or a text from the lover they met last night. If they're not doing that, they're eating a large Carl's Jr. and drinking a medium Minute Maid.

It's far easier to imagine Glass being used in a work context, where the rules of behavior are -- at least theoretically -- more defined, as is the use of Glass itself.

Perhaps it's just another instance of a tech company putting a product out there in the hope -- or zealous insistence -- that it will be well-received, rather than considering some of the real consequences when it comes up against the beliefs and habits of real people.

One small statistic from the Toluna research also might indicate how real human minds work. One third of the respondents said they were worried that if they wore these things, they'd get mugged.

The question is, would they get mugged because they looked silly and intimidating?

Or would they get mugged because the mugger couldn't wait to buy this fine device?

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Find Your Tech Type

Take our tech personality quiz and enter for a chance to win* high-tech specs!