Support Marketplace

Tech media freaks out over Google Glass at a shareholder's meeting

Attendees wear Google Glass while posing for a group photo during the Google I/O developer conference on May 17, 2013 in San Francisco, California.

“Banned! Google Glass Prohibited from Shareholder Meeting,” reads CNBC's headline. It’s ripe with irony right?

There’s been a lot of privacy concerns over Google’s infamous wearable computer. While Google glass sits conspicuously on your face, using its functions can be very inconspicuous.

There’s the famous wink function -- close one eye, and snap a photo. Then there’s the rumored facial recognition apps, which Google has put the kibosh on.

 I must admit that I’ve been on the receiving end of glass at Google I/O, where Glass geeks were out in force. It was very disconcerting. At drinks one night, I found myself standing across from a guy wearing Google Glass. He was looking at me and fiddling with it. It was completely distracting. Was he taking a picture of me? Or am I being vain because why would he want a picture of me!?!

If you read beyond the headlines of the tech news, that’s not the whole story. For six years now, Google has had a blanket rule that prohibits shareholders from recording or taking pictures of the event.

“Cameras, recording devices, and other electronic devices, such as smart phones, will not be permitted at the meeting. Photography is prohibited at the meeting. Please also do not bring large bags or packages to the meeting,” says the investor relations website. 

A Google representative reach out to us and said Google Glass was not explicitly banned at the meeting.

Broc Romanek with the blog corporatecounsel.net says such policies aren’t uncommon at shareholder meetings. He’s even heard of some companies asking shareholders to check their phones at the door.  

“It’s a new trend over the past few years for companies to make it a part of their rules of conduct,” Romanek said.

I think the real test for Google will come if the promise of Glass becomes a reality. The wearable computer is meant to be much more than another device that takes photos and videos. If we’re going to spin this out, one day it may allow for translation for the deaf. I can imagine a voice recognition app that’ll write out what people are saying and scroll it across Google Glass. It could offer translation, too?

How will Google handle that situation? Make deaf shareholders check in their Google Glass?

Update: A Google representative reached out to let us know Glass was not explicitly banned at the shareholder's meeting. The headline and text have been adjusted.

About the author

Queena Kim covers technology for Marketplace. She lives in the Bay Area.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...