Google Glass stolen and smashed to the ground in bizarre post-Google protest incident in SF
On his way to the 16th BART trainstation after covering gentrification protests in San Francisco,reporter Kyle Russell (pictured) had his Google Glass torn off hisface and smashed by a random woman. When she saw Russell and hisfriend approach, the Glass hater yelled "Glass!", tore thehi-tech spectacles off his face and ran. Following the chase, thewoman got away, but didn't make it out with the $1500 wearable - shesmashed it on the pavement and escaped. This is the second similar incident since Glass-donning reporterSarah Slocum was attacked in a bar this February. Thankfully,Russell and his companion are unharmed.
The girl's actions are quite confusingand not atypical to a hate crime. It makes sense to discourage theuse of Glass in establishments whose visitors are entitled to theirprivacy, but Russell was wearing Glass out on the street in broaddaylight, and probably taking advantage of its video recordingfunctionality to aid his story. Not that wearing the smart-glassesanywhere is something that should require excuses. It's hardly anydifferent than carrying a smartphone, with the exception that thelatter doesn't make its user look like a stereotypical nerd, and isconsiderably cheaper. Nabbing the $1500 pair of goggles off someone'sface is easily explainable considering their value, but having themtorn off and destroyed with no reason other than "because GoogleGlass!" is as short-sighted and absurd as any hate-crime. But ahate-crime is not the right assessment here.
"Anything associated with Google has come to represent gentrification in the city, from the buses that take young software engineers to their corporate campuses in Silicon Valley, to Google Glass."More likely than not, Russell waswearing Glass in the wrong place at the right time. A little beforehis incident, residents walked the streets in protest of a Googlelawyer, Jack Halprin, who started evicting tennants from a rentalbuilding he bought. Earlier in April, protesters targeted the houseof Digg founder and Google Ventures partner Kevin Rose. Lower incomeresidents are losing their homes and otherwise suffering from growinggentrification to which the SF tech-sector's well salaried workersand billionaire executives are contributing – some of themknowingly, some of them unwillingly. Residents are radicalizing,fostering anger and disdain towards the wealthy "techies".The Glass on Russell's face had a symbolic presence that wasparticularly unwelcome at this time and place.
"Unfortunately, anythingassociated with Google has come to represent gentrification in thecity, from the buses that take young software engineers to theircorporate campuses in Silicon Valley to Google Glass. This isespecially true in areas where gentrification and income inequalityhave become points of conflict in the community,” the youngreporter acknowledged. Meanwhile, his Twitter feed, comprised ofequal parts outspoken support, fair anti-gentrification arguments,typical Internet Hate Machine antics, and some incrediblyquestionable morals, reads like a condensed sample of San Francisco'snewest social struggle.
Russell's Glass couldn't survive thestreets of San Francisco. According to the reporter, the wearabledoesn't respond to voice and touch, and is practically unusable. Ifanything, the incident should make Google look into ways to make theglasses more durable - a difficult effort, considering Glass has tobe fashionable and sleek if it's to find any success as amass-product.