Google Glass may still be a rare sight in the wild, but the wearable camera and mobile device never fails to attract attention whenever it appears — and not always the good kind of attention. A recent altercation at a Seattle bar and restaurant resulted in the establishment banning Glass for good. Is it a trend?
In a post on its Facebook account, Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, a 24-hour diner and bar located on Seattle's Capitol Hill, explained its new position:
We recently had to ask a rude customer to leave because of their insistence on wearing and operating Google Glasses inside the restaurant. So for the record, here's Our Official Policy on Google Glass:
We kindly ask our customers to refrain from wearing and operating Google Glasses inside Lost Lake. We also ask that you not videotape anyone using any other sort of technology. If you do wear your Google Glasses inside, or film or photograph people without their permission, you will be asked to stop, or leave.
If this sounds a bit familiar, it's because another bar in Seattle, the 5 Point, was the first to ban Google Glass — and Lost Lake is owned by the same local restaurateur, Dave Meinert. But the 5 Point policy was set preemptively, while Lost Lake's was specifically in response to a customer who refused to cooperate when staff asked him to remove the device. The original post has been shared dozens of times and has hundreds of likes.
The customer in question, an early adopter of Google Glass named Nick Starr, also posted on Facebook regarding the Nov. 21 incident, saying he did in fact leave when requested to, though only after debating the validity of the ban with the manager.
While the response online from locals has been mixed, Lost Lake and Meinert stand by their policy. "Laws regarding the use of new technology are lagging, so we need to make rules now," suggested Lost Lake. And Meinert, responding to Starr, wrote "We're not anti-Glass, they are useful in all sorts of ways. We just think there should be some rules about them. Sorry for the hassle. Please respect others."
Of course, the language from the restaurant itself is a bit less diplomatic. As Lost Lake's policy concludes:
And if we ask you to leave, for God's sake, don't start yelling about your "rights". Just shut up and get out before you make things worse.
Will other bars and restaurants worldwide make the same determination, or will the ubiquity of wearable tech make such bans unenforceable? We'll have to wait to find out until devices like Glass are as common as smartphones.
Devin Coldewey is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. His personal website is coldewey.cc.
First published November 26 2013, 1:52 PM