UK movie theaters to Google Glass: No, thank you

Just six days after it goes on sale in the UK, movie theaters ban Google Glass "whether the movie's playing or not."

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A second country starts banning Google Glass. Marques Brownlee/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Soon, you'll only be able to wear them in the toilet.

Somehow, Google has managed to mismanage the social acceptance of Google Glass that, just six days after going on sale in the UK, movie theaters are already moving to ban the eyewear.

As the Independent reports, Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association, offered these words: "Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not."

This sounds even more draconian than some movie theater chains in the US, such as the Alamo Drafthouse, which recently decided that Glass must be removed before the trailers start.

The UK's Vue theater chain told the Independent that it would be requiring Glass wearers to remove them "before the lights dim."

The essence of the ban is, surprisingly, not intrusion or aesthetics, but piracy. Movie theater owners are concerned that, despite Glass only having 45 minutes of continuous recording time, pirates will put the two halves of a movie together with others in order to pump out illicit copies.

Google expressed its feelings through a spokesman: "We recommend any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts."

One might wonder whether Glass wearers should themselves automatically remove the devices out of a deep-seated politesse. Perhaps that would be asking too much, however, given how some believe in the pure righteousness of their gadget.

Google itself offered further thoughts that smack of a certain haughtiness. A company spokesman said: "Broadly speaking, we also think it's best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it's activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly."

The honesty of this statement is disarming. It also incites the question: So what is it actually good for? Is the idea of a cell phone on your face something humanity has desperately been waiting for?

To some, there's a suspicion that those now termed Glassholes (even by Google) like to be seen wearing Glass because it gives them a certain cachet.

Look, I can afford $1,500 for a pair of glasses. That's what you pay a month in rent, isn't it?

Oddly, during last week's I/O conference, Google Glass was mentioned not at all. No presenters were seen wearing it. It could be that, in time, Glass will become very useful in certain work-specific areas, where privacy is not a concern.

It could also be that this project (it is still a project) will drift away, consigned to the container marked: "Whose idea was that?"

 

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