Can You Wear Google Glass in a Public Restroom? A Cut Chat

Photo: Photos: Bloomberg/Getty, iStockphoto

Today, the revelation that entrepreneur Robert Scoble wears Google Glass in public restrooms alarmed many. Is bathroom Glass acceptable? Is Scoble a perv? What is the etiquette for entering a restroom while wearing Google Glass, anyway? Cut Charlotte and Cut Maureen discuss.


Maureen: How do you feel about this tech guy wearing Google Glass in the restroom? My initial reaction was NOOOOOOO. But his follow-up tweet noting that Google Glass requires an audible “OK Glass” command did comfort me a bit.
Charlotte: Perhaps. But whether or not Google Glasses are present, anyone who talks out loud to nobody in a public restroom is cause for concern in and of itself.
Maureen: Valleywag points out you could turn them on before entrance, and I’m pretty sure you can use touch motion controls, too. I did the demo the day they brought them into NYMag’s office, but was too distracted by the cute guy doing the demos to pay attention. (This guy.)

Charlotte: So Google Glasses really CAN be sexy! I bet Google is dispatching hot ambassadors on purpose.
Maureen: In order to teach me to use Glass, he had to stare into my eyes. I had a giggle fit in front of our bosses. It was humiliating. Then I accidentally texted the guy’s mom.
Charlotte: How??
Maureen: I was wearing his pair of Glasses and was looking at the text message function. I’m pretty sure the text I sent was “Hahaha oh my god I think I’m about to — ” But back to the issue at hand: Toilet Glass.
Charlotte: Is it possible to record on your Google Glasses without realizing it? Because that’s another concern when wearing Google Glasses into the bathroom. Like, what if you recorded yourself peeing by accident?
Maureen: AND TEXTED IT TO A HOT GUY’S MOM? I almost feel like public restrooms should have magnetic force fields to prevent any technology from being used in them.


Charlotte: I would be lying if I said I didn’t occasionally text on the toilet, but never in a public restroom.
Maureen: Not saying I’ve ever done it, but word games might be fun on the toilet, too.
Charlotte: However! I have heard it is a common problem among males to drop your phone into the toilet while either (a) attempting to text while peeing, or (b) pulling down pants while your phone is in your pocket, and it falls out.
Maureen: So to summarize so far: Glass is optimized for use on the toilet, which is a plus. But perhaps too optimized, in the case of accidental pee-recordings.
Charlotte: Yes.


Maureen: But the real offense with restroom Glass is that you’ll freak everyone else out.
Charlotte: I think this would be more of a urinal problem, though. I don’t care if someone records me washing my hands. Also, like, there’s nothing sexy about peeing. It’s not like some perv is going to record you peeing and then make some sort of pee porn video with it.
Maureen: Au contraire, my Google Search for “pee fetish” just now got 15,700,000 results.


Charlotte: Maybe I’m just naïve. Now that you mention it, therwas a Law & Order: SVU where some perv hid a camera in a coffee shop toilet to record people peeing because he was into it.
Maureen: Also there are noises in a restroom. And cracks in stall doors. There just shouldn’t be recording devices in bathrooms, ever, is where I’m coming down on this.
Charlotte: Truth.
Maureen: You can see when someone is using Glass, if you look for the glow of the screen through the glass thingee above her eye. But it’s an undue burden to expect everyone to constantly be looking into Glass users’ devices, squinting to see what’s going on.
Charlotte: (Sidenote: This is another reason I don’t think Google Glasses will really catch on. They’ll make people around the wearer too paranoid.)
Maureen: (That’s a good point.) 


Maureen: So at this point, the question becomes: Do Glass users take their Glass off when they arrive in the restroom? Must they fold them and tuck them away? Or just, like, push them back up on their heads like headbands?
Charlotte: I think people should take them off and put them away. Or maybe have Google Glass croakies, also commonly known as frat straps.
Maureen: ???
Charlotte: These:


Charlotte: They could drop their glasses below their necks when not in use.
Maureen: Why are those called frat straps?
Charlotte: Because they are commonly worn by people who look like thisAnd emblazoned with phrases like this: 


Charlotte: They sort of originated on sailboats and are made of beer koozie material. Sailboats + koozies + things that are easily monogrammable = frat gear.
Maureen: Though frat straps won’t solve the “what if they’re recording this?” problem, since Glass could be “on” when angled downwards, they help with the creep factor. 
Charlotte: But it probably wouldn’t record very well. I’d be much less paranoid if Google Glass was just hanging around someone’s neck rather than pointed directly at my face.
Maureen: Ultimately the Glass restroom dilemma is one of perception. We’re trying to maintain the illusion that we can’t be violated and recorded at all times, even though we know that we basically can and perhaps are.
Charlotte: Totally.
Maureen: Privacy is an illusion. But it’s an illusion we really need to maintain if we want to stay sane.


Charlotte: Well here’s the final question: How do you confront someone with Google Glasses when you don’t want to be recorded?
Maureen: “Take your fucking Google Glass off before I slap that $1,500 device off your face, Scoble.”
Charlotte: That works. Or maybe there will be “device-free zones.” Like in my gym locker room, there are signs saying that cell phone use is prohibited.
Maureen: Yes! Although if Glass ever actually merges with prescription glasses, that will be hard for people to do.
Charlotte: Maybe it’ll just say, recording devices not allowed. Like airplane mode on an iPhone.
Maureen: On the other hand, I’m still waiting for the world’s first Google Glass–shot porno, and if it takes a public restroom to make that happen, I am willing to make a one-time exception.
Charlotte: And with that, I think we are done.

Can You Wear Google Glass in a Public Restroom?