Last Friday, we posted about a patron at Feast who was asked to remove her Google Glass headset before dining at the restaurant on April 20. Apparently guests had voiced their privacy concerns when another Glass Explorer dined there a few weeks earlier. In that situation, the Glass wearer quickly consented to remove the Glass.
The diner on April 20, NYC resident Katy Kasmai, the organizer of a Google Glass user group, refused to do so, and left the restaurant.
She wrote about the incident on Google +. Shortly afterwards, 13 one-star reviews of Feast appeared on Google from people who commented on Kasmai's post. The negative reviews were not based on the restaurant's food, but rather the no-Glass policy.
The story quickly became what Adam Chandler described at The Wire as "a flashpoint in the Google Glass battle" … and there was plenty of back-and-forth between the so-called Glassholes and those who, well, are not.
The incident received ample coverage in the tech press, including Mashable, CNet, ValleyWag and Daring Fireball, among others.
Now for a little EVG navel-gazing — the post because the fourth-most viewed in the blog's 7-year history. Still going to take quite a push to top the posts related to topless women.
And what about for Feast? Last Friday morning, there were 28 Google reviews, good for a 3.1 out of 5 rating. As of last evening, there were 529 Google reviews, which pushed the rating up to 4.5.
Here is part of one new 5-star review:
Any restaurant that stands up to the Google Glass bullies deserves 1,000 stars. I sincerely hope Feast reads this review and sues every reviewer who unfairly left them one star reviews because Google Glassholes retaliated after being asked to remove their Google Glasses so diners could dine in peace. I can't wait to go back to this great place. Google Glassholes are obnoxious c**** (rhymes with "runts") and I hope if there is a hell, they all rot in it for all eternity.
And what is the reaction from Feast? We reached out to management for comment.
"We're totally blown away," a restaurant rep told us. "We knew the story had some elements that people would be passionate about, but not to this extent. We've even gotten emails from people all over the world supporting us. Not to mention the Google reviews. I mean, it's sort of all a joke now, but I'm glad it happened because the whole online rating system for restaurants is flawed and this sort of proves our point, which was one of the original points we wanted to make, but it pretty much turned into a privacy war. Don't get us wrong though, we are incredibly humbled by the fact that 500-plus people would spend their time leaving a review for us."
As for Katy Kasmai, the spurned Google Glass wearer who sparked this debate…
Completely appreciate concerns over @googleglass. Best way to understand it is to try it, and @feastnyc has kindly invited the opportunity.
— Katy Kasmai (@KatyKasmai) May 25, 2014
Absolutely did not encourage people to post fake reviews and asking folks to please not do so. @sarahpriceless @benparr @NickStarr @feastnyc
— Katy Kasmai (@KatyKasmai) May 25, 2014
The Feast rep confirmed that the two sides did reach out … with an offer of a Google Glass tutorial for the taking.
"Things got out of hand really fast and we just wanted to get a handle on things before we set anything up," the Feast rep said. "As we have said before, our decision is fully based on customers and we never harbored any ill will toward Katy.
"Our decision to meet Katy is based off the fact that we do try to give everyone the best possible experience and if this is something that is important to her and will maybe have us understand Glass more, then we're for it. However, it's our customers who matter to us, and if the overwhelming majority are uncomfortable with Glass, then our policy stands. It's pretty interesting how passionate the pro-Glass and anti-Glass sides are. The arguments and comments have strayed so far from something so simple as a policy at a private establishment. We require people to be clothed when they come in, although that's never been an issue — nobody's ever argued about it. We asked Katy to take her Glass off, just a policy. Not discrimination."
Previously on EV Grieve:
A Google Glass Feast (77 comments)