Glassholes accused of hurting restaurant's ratings

Feast restaurant in New York gets a slew of one-star reviews on Google after one customer is asked to remove her Google Glass.

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Worth thinking about others, sometimes? Google/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Though Google didn't itself invent the word "Glasshole," it has embraced it.

It has pleaded with its own Google Glass Explorers not to behave in rude ways. It's not that being rude never gets you anywhere. It's that, in this case, being rude while wearing Glass is bad for the brand image.

Yet some of those prone to Glassholism see no reason why they should be asked, for example, to remove their spectacles in public places.

There was engineer Nick Starr, who was not pleased when asked to take off his gadget by Seattle's Lost Lake Cafe and Lounge. This led to an uncomplimentary Facebook post from him and a rebuttal from the restaurant that it didn't want "Google Glass wearing man children stinkin up the joint."

Feast restaurant on New York's Third Avenue has become the latest to suffer a Google Glass contretemps. As local blog EV Grieve has it, a Glass Explorer called Katy Kasmai was unhappy that she was asked to remove her Google Glass.

Indeed, Kasmai posted to Google+ about her dismay. She wrote: "For the first time ever this place, Feast, in #NYC just asked that I remove +Google Glass because customers have complained of privacy concerns in the past. Never has happened to me before in the one year I've had Glass. I left."

Both sides exercised their legal rights. It seemed fair and balanced.

However, then the restaurant began to notice a raft of one-star reviews being posted to Google reviews. Yes, Kasmai posted one. However, the others appeared to be from people who might never have set foot in the place.

Indeed, many had never claimed to have been there. For example, Shawn Mernagh offered only one star and posted: "They discriminate against people who are into new technology. Do not eat here."

Dan Tallant mused: "Troglodytes with poor attitudes." Hal Bishop gave some quite stretchy logic: "Not tech friendly. Luddites can't serve good food. Do not waste your money here."

Luddites can't serve good food? My mom served great food and she thought technology was a load of old cobblers.

Moreover, one friend who has been to Feast tells me they do an excellent Beery Mary. Yes, a Bloody Mary made with beer. And beer is a well-known food group.

Feast's management told EV Grieve that it noticed that many of the one-star reviews were written by people who had also posted on Kasmai's Google+ post. It noticed one especially critical review coming from someone who lived in Phoenix.

At the time, this sudden one-star epidemic caused Feast's overall Google rating to sink to 2.4. This can hurt a business.

Feast's unnamed manager told EV Grieve: "Again I can understand her (Kasmai) leaving the one-star based on her experience, but 12 others with no experience on who we are or what we do is unfair."

The restaurant also described it as "malicious and technically a violation of Google's own terms for leaving reviews."

Naturally, once this news began to emerge, people wafted onto Google reviews to post five-star reviews, so much so that the overall score has risen to 3.1.

Sample from Josh Beissel: ": "I came here last week on vacation and the food was really good, worthy of 4 stars. Then I learned that they don't allow Google Glass and I bumped it up to 5 stars. Keep up the good work Feast!!!"

The expression of enervation offered by Glass-supporters surely cannot help their cause.

There are plenty of places that make you unwelcome for various reasons. My dining partner once was given ants in his salad at an Italian restaurant. I never returned, even though the place is well-reviewed and local.

By apparently offering one-star reviews en masse, the Glass-wearers only show themselves to be the very thing that Google wishes they weren't: Glassholes.

What's clear is that they probably (hopefully) don't even represent the majority of Glass-wearers.

For example, one recent Google reviewer of Feast's offerings, Zenzi Mulder, wrote: "Awesome restaurant, kindly asked if I could remove my Google Glass because others were feeling uncomfortable, luckily Im not the kind of entitled douche to refuse that or get butthurt. Had a great meal."

Now that, you see, is called being human.