Remember the Alamo (Drafthouse): Texas' most infamous theater bans Google Glass

By James Robinson , written on June 10, 2014

From The News Desk

In another ominous sign for people who like to block their line of sight with Google-branded computers, Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League announced via Twitter yesterday that once the lights dim, Google Glass would be banned from its theaters.

The Austin-based cinema chain, which is in the process of expanding to California and New York, has 11 locations in Texas, alongside cinemas in Virginia, Michigan, Kansas, Colorado, and Virginia.

League followed up on Twitter after his initial announcement to clarify that Google Glass would be able to be worn if the device is clearly turned off, but cinema-goers will still need to get permission, which would likely only be granted if they have their prescriptions in the Glass and need them to see.

He told Deadline that he’d tried Glass before and saw it as a huge risk for movie piracy.

“Google Glass did some early demos here in Austin, and I tried them out personally… At that time, I recognized the potential piracy problem that they present for cinemas. I decided to put off a decision until we started seeing them in the theater, and that started happening this month.”

It’s not a surprising development for the Alamo Drafthouse, which is notorious for demanding their patrons to conduct themselves in a proper manner while watching a movie and are known to throw people out for talking and texting during a movie.

But for Google, it is yet another example of friction between its device and the civilian world. And it is not the first time that Glass has caused an issue in a cinema. In January, a man was pulled from an AMC theater in Columbus, Ohio and questioned for wearing Glass. The man was later released and given free movie tickets for his troubles, but AMC has since declared that no video capable device is suitable for the movie theater.

The real world isn’t becoming more accepting of people wearing a computer over their eyes. The mystery element – Is the wearer looking at something? Is the product distracting? – has made it unpopular with both crowds and legislators. Wearing Google Glass while driving remains in a legal gray area, and several states are contemplating bans, while stories of individual venue prohibitions and cases of hostility toward Glass-wearers have become commonplace.

In other words, you don't have to be a "Glasshole" to be treated like one.

[illustration by Brad Jonas for Pando]