Is it a coincidence that, in the week Google finally opened up sales of its wearable computer (albeit only to adults in the US, and only for 24 hours), a surprising number of people have hit the headlines after they were mugged for their Google Glasses?
It sounds like a scene from the latest Robocop reboot, but a recent struggle on an LA beachfront between an assailant brandishing a Taser and a victim with a computer wrapped around his face was entirely serious.
On Tuesday, police in LA reported that a man in a Venice Beach café had been robbed at Taser-point of his $1,500 Google Glass.
That followed a similar crime last Friday, when Business Insider’s reporter Kyle Russell claimed his Glass was ripped from his face and smashed on the pavement as he covered an anti-Google protest in San Francisco (in hindsight, wearing a controversial Google device to an anti-Google could be seen as incitment…).
Back in February, again in San Francisco, a tech writer claimed she had her Google Glass torn from her face as she filmed in a bar. A witness said the attack was prompted after fellow drinkers accused her of filming them without her consent. It suggests that, after the reaction to Google's Streetcars, people are increasingly sensitive to the privacy issues created by Google and its devices.
There seem to be a number of issues - aside from the hefty $1,500 price tag - which could prove tricky for Google's much-fanfared new product and its revenue prospects, as well as other wearable tech pioneers such as Sony and Samsung with their shiny new smartwatches. High profile, dramatic attacks on wearers of new gadgets could put off potential buyers, even if they can afford them.
In light of the recent NSA revelations, the public are increasingly wary of surveillance, and as the divide between rich and poor widens, ostentatious displays of wealth can attract more than a roll of the eyes or a catty glance. Is it safe to wear your smart phone on your sleeve, or your pricey gadget on your face? As if looking like a total idiot wasn't enough, now you get mugged for it.