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Sergey Brin says "The cell phone is a nervous habit"

Posted: , by Michael H.

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Sergey Brin says
Sergey Brin has been one of the driving forces behind many Google products. Where Larry Page was always expected to become the CEO of Google, Sergey always planned to stay engaged in products. This is one reason why we've seen Sergey wearing Google Glass almost nonstop for the past year, and today Sergey explained why he is so passionate about Glass, even going so far as to say that "the cell phone is a nervous habit".

Sergey made a surprise visit to the TED conference today, and spent about 10 minutes talking and showing off Google Glass. He said that the product was important because of how we've become attached to our smartphones, and how they can distance us from real world experiences, saying about phones: 
We often question if this is the way you want to connect with the people in your life. I feel it's kind of emasculating. You're just rubbing this featureless piece of glass.
Brin went on to say that his wife still uses a BlackBerry exactly because it isn't "featureless" and at least offers some sort of tactile feedback. He went on to say, "The cell phone is a nervous habit. I whip this out and look as if I have something important to do. [Google Glass] takes that away."

We have to agree with this estimation, because we have certainly felt the pull of that "nervous habit". It's a common argument against the way we use our smartphones that they tend to distance us from real experiences. We don't see concerts anymore, we just see the video of it that we're recording on our phones. We don't connect in real life, only on social networks. 

We have confidence that Google Glass could help to lessen the "nervous habit" and maybe bring people back to the real world, but there were shy people before smartphones and there will be shy people as we go forward. So, we don't expect that much of a social revolution once we're pulled back from our phones. 

source: The Verge

14 Comments
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posted on 27 Feb 2013, 14:19 9

1. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6254; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Yes hes right. Most people dont communicate much even when they sit next too each other. They will be either face book or twittering. Looks like people forgot how too talk too each other these days. But i hardly use face book too chit chat its gettin over crowded & now over rated

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 15:11 1

4. SavageLucy42 (Posts: 211; Member since: 24 Mar 2011)


I disagree. When my family and friends are talking, we take out a phone only to show "Hey look at this!" the conversation and communication is still face to face. Yes we text more than talk on the phone, but more than anything I prefer to go visit a friend and be in the same room.

posted on 28 Feb 2013, 01:02 1

11. jsdechavez (Posts: 701; Member since: 20 Jul 2012)


I totally agree with Sergey.. thanks for this article, no trolls.

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 14:25 6

2. RaKithAPeiRiZ (Posts: 1320; Member since: 29 Dec 2011)


all technology will lead to the decline of social interaction , most people use twitter or facebook to avoid talking to people ,so even if they use glass it will still happen ,but instead of staring down at a phone , the glass will allow users to keep their heads straight, and pretend to listen while they dont

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 14:52 1

3. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2662; Member since: 26 May 2011)


edit: "all technology will lead to the decline of IRL social interaction".

technology boosts overall social interaction quite a lot. just because you're not face to face with the person doesn't mean you aren't interacting.

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 16:17

5. Topcat488 (Posts: 1124; Member since: 29 Sep 2012)


If Google Glass came with that clear (see through) material, then i would consider buying this product... The colourful ones are nice looking too, but i don't like having a blind spot by my eye. But $1,500?

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 17:57

6. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


I'm kind of disappointed that he uses the term "cellphone".
Like he really doesn't appreciate what is undoubtedly the most fascinating personal electronic product created so far

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 20:00

8. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2662; Member since: 26 May 2011)


I'm quite sure that he appreciates it, but I think his point is that while it is the best we've got so far, it's not the best we can do. From everything I've read about Sergey, he's one of those guys that doesn't accept any downsides. No matter how good something is, if there's a downside, it's not good enough.

posted on 28 Feb 2013, 04:12

12. darac (Posts: 2156; Member since: 17 Oct 2011)


Right, I understand.
But it is a subjective opinion on his behalf, not a factual downside.
More of a ideology/world view matter..a matter of whether we should erase the border between technology and ourselves, or not.
And that is still an open question, imo.

It's like, would you like Star Trek better if they were all cybernetically augmented to the point of having personal super computer implanted into their brains and optical nerves.
Or would you rather leave them like they are, using their Pads ;)

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 18:20

7. puckhead (Posts: 76; Member since: 13 Jan 2013)


Smart phones are emasculating??? His wife uses a blackberry? The only thing I see emasculating here is his wife not using and android, Sergey should consider a divorce...lol jk I kid I kid.

Google glass definitely seems super cool, i'm just not sure ppl will want to be wearing weird glasses in public, me personally? I would do it, but alot ppl wouldnt be caught dead...Also not sure ppl want to be speaking out random commands in public, thats what psychotic homeless ppl do or me when im piss drunk...haha

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 20:04 1

9. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2662; Member since: 26 May 2011)


People were weirded out when Bluetooth headsets first came out and people seemed to be talking to nobody, but that's become normal. I doubt giving commands will come off that strange.

I think Google is working really hard to make them look like something someone would want to wear. I definitely believe the rumors about Warby Parker. Glass seems like one of those things that people will be wary of at first, but once you try it (assuming the price isn't too crazy), people will jump on board.

posted on 27 Feb 2013, 22:38 1

10. speckledapple (Posts: 878; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


There is much truth to his statement. People have started to rely too much on facebooking each other rather than having a real conversation.

posted on 28 Feb 2013, 11:26

13. MichaelHeller (Posts: 2662; Member since: 26 May 2011)


Are conversations via FB chat not "real conversations"?

posted on 01 Mar 2013, 09:46

14. speckledapple (Posts: 878; Member since: 29 Sep 2011)


Oh no you can easily have a real conversation through FB. We are having a conversation right though I have never met you because of such technologies like that. However, when talking online because the substitute that people prefer versus talking and interacting face to face, it becomes a problem.

If you consider the technology like Google Hangouts and Skype, allowing people to interact and merge ideas together no matter where they are (assuming they have internet) its amazing the level of collaboration we are capable of today.

I just think that we should never forget to interact face to face as I have seen people communicate with each other through their phones even though they are standing right next to each other. Google Glass even though it still connects you to the online world can still give you exactly what feels right, human interaction.

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