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Sergey Brin Mocked For ‘Emasculating’ Smartphone Comment

Freelance Technology Reporter for TechWeekEurope and eWeek

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Google co-founder Sergey Brin was been widely ridiculed after he labelled smartphones as “emasculating”

Google co-founder Sergey Brin has again found himself in hot water after comments he made whilst trying to promote Google Glass.

Google Glass will be used by real men in the future, while smartphones and their need for finger-swipes over a glass screen will emasculate their users. At least, that is the view of Brin, who made the comments 27 February at the TED Conference in Long Beach, California, according to a story by Wired.com.

Girly Smartphones?

In a surprise 10-minute appearance at the conference, Brin said that Google Glass will put users in control of their electronic devices, rather than being forced to concentrate on and give inputs to the device’s screen.

“You’re actually socially isolating yourself with your phone,” Brin said at the conference, Wired reported. “I feel like it’s kind of emasculating. … You’re standing there just rubbing this featureless piece of glass.”

That’s a very different experience compared with using Google Glass, he said, which can be used without touching it.

“I whip this out and focus on it as though I have something very important to attend to,” Brin said. “This [Google Glass] really takes away that excuse. … It really opened my eyes to how much of my life I spent secluded away in email or social posts.”

Instead, Glass fulfills a vision he said he’s had since starting Google 15 years ago “that eventually you wouldn’t have to have a search query at all – the information would just come to you as you needed it,” said Brin. “This is the first form factor that can deliver that vision.”

Internet Responds

His comments caused a storm of responses on the Internet.

John Gruber, a blogger who writes about technology, wrote on his blog, DaringFireball.net, “We’re taking advice on cool from this guy? Seriously? I can see the argument that [fooling] around with our phones in public is not cool, that we should pay more attention to our companions and surroundings, and less to our computer displays. Strapping a computer display to your face is not the answer.”

Twitter posts about Brin’s remarks were everywhere.

Google Glass“Google’s Sergey Brin calls smartphones ”emasculating,'” tweeted technology writer and editor Barbara Krasnoff.  “As opposed to wearing glasses with thick frames?”

IT professional Brad Casemore had his own take, tweeting, “Sergey Brin appears to contend that Google Glass is more swaggeringly macho than the smartphone.”

Another IT executive, Tom Giles, tweeted, “This from a dude whose $GOOG makes billions from dudes hunching over #emasculating smartphones. Well played, Sergey.”

IT writer and technology professional Tom Reestman had his own take on Brin’s comments, tweeting, “Seems to me Sergey Brin suffers from premature emasculation.”

Google Glass

The Google Glass project is an eyewear-mounted computer that will have a wide range of innovative features when it hits the consumer market. The Explorer Edition versions of Google Glass for developers are expected to become available early this year, with consumer versions expected sometime in 2014.

Google Glass features an Android-powered display, a tiny Webcam, a GPS locator and an Internet connection node built in to one side of a pair of glasses. The glasses are lightweight and may or may not have lenses.

Earlier this month, Google announced that it is expanding its Google Glass testing pool to get more testers and collect additional input for the still-evolving project. The company is inviting interested applicants to submit proposals through 27 February for a chance to buy an early model and become a part of its continuing development.