Year-old East Village restaurant Feast had been doing pretty well until it had a run-in with disgruntled Google Glass fans.
A diner, startup CEO Katy Kasmai, was asked to take off her Glass during brunch recently over privacy concerns. Feast says it has previously asked a patron to do the same thing for the same reason without incident. In this case, Kasmai took to Google+ to vent.
“For the first time ever this place, Feast, in #NYC just asked that I remove +Google Glass because customers have complained of privacy concerns in the past. Never has happened to me before in the one year I’ve had Glass. I left,” she wrote.
After the complaint went up, a number of people took to Google to give one-star reviews of the restaurant. Feast’s manager spoke with the EV Grieve blog to say that, for them, the negative commentary is damaging.
“[Y]ou have 13 people, which is about half the total reviews, who have never been to our restaurant, let alone live in NYC, leave you one-star reviews … it’s malicious and technically a violation of Google’s own terms for leaving reviews,” the manager said.
Even after making attempts at explaining the policy on Twitter, Kasmai didn’t back down, saying she was “discriminated against for no good reason.” Really? Doesn’t sound like anything resembling discrimination, to be honest. Sounds more like Kasmai was asked to do something, she had a problem with the request and then labeled it discrimination.
The Daily Dot also thinks Kasmai has taken the issue a few steps too far. “Glass makes enough people feel uncomfortable that many restaurants have asked patrons to take them off out of respect for others, and the solution isn’t to trash the restaurant,” the site writes. A recent study conducted by the firm Toluna bears this out, finding that 72 percent of Americans won’t wear Glass because they have privacy concerns.
Right now, even politicians have taken up the issues with Glass and the privacy concerns it raises. Businesses like Feast that prefer customers not wear Google Glass ought to make that clear right at the door so there’s no miscommunication or frustration after a client has already spent time and effort with the company.
Also, those who own Glass should be sensitive to the fact that this is new technology and there are wrinkles to iron out. Perhaps Google can even make this part of the push behind Glass, to educate new owners about the discussion around Glass. Otherwise, if it seems like too much trouble to own them, there could be buyer’s remorse.
Separately but related, it’s interesting that someone finally stepped up to the plate in favor of Glass. There’s been a whole lot of Glass bashing thus far.