Woman saying she was attacked in bar won’t stop wearing Google Glass

A San Francisco tech writer posted a video to YouTube after she says she was attacked at a bar on Haight Street for wearing Google Glass.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- The woman attacked in a San Francisco bar for wearing Google Glass said she won’t be intimidated into taking off the Internet-connected glasses.

“I don’t want people to see me without Google Glass now,” Sarah Slocum said in an interview. “Now that people know that this happened to me, I don’t want them to think I am afraid to wear it. I don’t want the people who verbally and physically attacked me and wronged me to have that.”

Slocum, 34, who blogs about technology and works in technology marketing and public relations, is among the early testers of the device.


She has been wearing Glass for about a month and said 95% of the time the reaction has been positive despite the fears triggered by the introduction of a new technology, even one as seemingly intrusive as this one.

“People are excited and they are curious. They want to try it on and see what it’s like,” she said.

Slocum, a Google Glass evangelist, said she understands that people may be nervous at first about the device, which lets wearers access the Internet, take photos and film snippets. So she spends time letting people play with the device and explaining to them how it works. When people express concerns about being surreptitiously filmed, she shows them how a light goes on when she is recording.

“Some people think, ‘Oh, it’s a privacy invasion.’ But it’s really no different than the smartphones people carry in their pockets,” Slocum said. “People just don’t understand the technology.… Once I allow people to try it on and show them how it works, they love it. They say, ‘Wow, that’s so cool.’”

Some people still don’t like it when she wears the device. But Slocum said she was stunned by the “venom” she experienced when angry patrons attacked her at Molotov’s bar early Saturday morning. She says they insulted her, shouted obscenities and even threw a bar rag at her.

Slocum said she was bar hopping with friends when they ended up at the bar in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood. She was showing one curious bar patron Google Glass when two women started shielding their faces and rolling their eyes, she said. One of the women made an obscene gesture, Slocum said.


Feeling threatened, she said she told them she was going to record with Google Glass. That’s when she said one of the women and a man “charged” her, telling her they did not want to be filmed. The woman swore at her, Slocum said, then threw a bar rag at her. Slocum said the woman then ran up to her, saying “you are killing the city” and tried to grab Google Glass from her. Then the man “ripped them off my face and ran out of the bar,” Slocum said.

Slocum said she ran after him yelling and trying to convince him not to take her Glass. He eventually gave Glass back, but by the time she ran back into the bar, her purse with her keys, wallet and phone were gone.

She has given the footage she filmed on Glass to KRON4 to air Tuesday evening.

Google Glass has had its share of troubles in bars.

In November, Lost Lake Cafe & Lounge, a 24-hour diner and bar in Seattle, said it had banned Google Glass after a customer refused to stop wearing and operating the device inside the restaurant.

“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. 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,” the restaurant said on its Facebook page.

The customer, an early adopter of Google Glass named Nick Starr, posted his side of the story on Facebook, saying he did in fact leave when he was asked, but only after debating whether the manager should ban Glass. Another bar in Seattle, the 5 Point Cafe, was the first to ban Google Glass. The two establishments are owned by the same restaurateur.

Google has published a social etiquette guide for Google Glass wearers, advising among other things to ask permission before filming.


“Standing alone in the corner of a room staring at people while recording them through Glass is not going to win you any friends.... 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,” it reads.

Despite the controversy that has hounded the device even before it has gone mainstream, Slocum predicted Google Glass will quickly become as popular as smartphones are today.

“Once Google Glass is introduced to the mass market and Google brings the price down, they are going to sell like hot cakes,” Slocum said. “Everybody hating on it now are going to be wearing it in six months to a year.”


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