It’s happening: sometime people walk around public places with a computer recording videos in their heads. Only this time, Meta, not Google, is selling the faceputer.
Say hello to Meta’s Glassholes.
Over the weekend, as buyers got their first uninterrupted periods of time with the new Meta Quest 3 headsets, some began posting videos of themselves interacting with the real world. instead of playing games.
Sure, it’s cool to destroy the low-poly baddies that come through your walls, but isn’t it more technically impressive that Meta’s new headset lets you cook a meal either sweep your floors or enjoy a elegant coffee on a beautiful day Without even removing the machine? That’s what Quest 3’s low-latency, full-color pass-through video enables.
It didn’t take long for people to start pushing the limits, both technological and social. Jay Mayo walked the floor at New York Comic-Con with headphones on, recording clips of strangers along the way.
And, in the video you’ve already seen above this post, XR and AI powerhouse Cix Liv nearly filled the Glasshole by walking straight into a San Francisco coffee shop and placing an order, without bothering to hide the coffee shop’s address.
I spoke to Ray Ng, co-owner of Fiddle Fig Cafe, the cafe in question, and he believes it was simply “a giggle-and-laugh stunt.” Liv didn’t sit and drink coffee with headphones on, Ng says. “They removed the device, sat down, and that’s it,” she tells me over the phone. It was all over in “maybe 5 minutes.”
But that won’t necessarily stop other attention seekers from following Liv’s lead; They might even encourage each other. “Now I don’t feel bad walking around with headphones on during Comic Con.” May responded to Liv.after the artist who filmed himself walking through New York Comic-Con saw Liv’s coffee video.
Of course, we’ve been through all this before: A decade ago, public opinion turned against Google Glass, with public company owners in particular speaking out against the technology. Restaurants, movie theaters, casinos, bars, and other public establishments banned headphones entirely: a woman was allegedly assaulted for wearing Google Glass in San Francisco, and an XR pioneer was assaulted in Paris while wearing a similar-looking device.
But that was a decade ago, and last year I argued that our definition of privacy, our tolerance for public photography, and our resistance to wearable technology have changed considerably since Google first introduced Glass. Maybe this time it won’t be such a big deal? Smartphone cameras everywhere are now the norm, and small businesses often benefit from a clout connector; Ng agreed with me naming Fiddle Fig Cafe in this story.
However, I wonder if Meta was prepared for the Quest 3 to be Glasshole’s headset of choice. While the company has put a lot of thought into making sure its Ray-Ban glasses don’t fall into the same trap: publishing explanations about privacy and Guidelines on wearing such glasses in public.including proactively informing people that you are recording; Quest 3 doesn’t appear to have similar published guidelines.
It’s also a little harder for viewers to tell when the Quest 3 is recording. It simply emits a white light, slowly, and a light that is already on by default. When I asked my wife if she thought I was recording, she said she had no idea.
On the other hand, if you saw someone walking into a cafe with a bulbous white object above their face with multiple camera slits, you would automatically assume they were recording absolutely everything.
Meta did not respond to a request for comment.