Real Time Communications Industry News

TMCNet:  Google's Sergey Brin: smartphones are 'emasculating'

[February 28, 2013]

Google's Sergey Brin: smartphones are 'emasculating'

(Guardian Web Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Smartphones are "emasculating" – at least according to Sergey Brin, the co-founder of Google, who explained his view while addressing an audience wearing a computer headset that made him look slightly like a technological pirate.


His comment at the TED conference in California drew puzzlement – and satirical responses from bloggers – as people wondered if he had perhaps meant a different word. The question was, what Brin suggested that the way people today use their smartphones was unappealing.

"When we started Google 15 years ago," Brin said, "my vision was that information would come to you as you need it. You wouldn't have to search query at all." But now people get information by turning away from the other people they are with, he said. "Is this the way you're meant to interact with other people Is the future of connection just people walking around hunched up, looking down, rubbing a featureless piece of glass " In an intimate moment, he said, "It's kind of emasculating. Is this what you're meant to do with your body You want something that will free your eyes." While plenty of people were prepared to agree that smartphones can be socially isolating - or at least rude, when used to the exclusion of others who are present – many were also puzzled by how something used by both sexes could be "emasculating".

At the website BoingBoing, the suggestion was that Google Glass would need an appropriately named version of the Android mobile operating system – whose robot-themed icon has pleased many geeks. But each version is named after a dessert (Frozen Yogurt, Jelly Bean) – insufficiently manly, suggested Rob Beschizza.

"Introducing Mandroid, Google's remasculating new operating system", he proclaimed. "Discover Gun Whisky Cologne Cigar Beard, the new version of Mandroid … a completely new camera experience, with a long, thrusting zoom lens, a new form of typing that helps pound your messages in, and much more." Others found Brin's comments simply incredible. "What message is he sending to Android customers " asked Chris Pirillo, a technology consultant and entrepreneur.

Others simply felt Brin had suffered a verbal short circuit: "if only there were some kind of electronic search service that Sergey Brin could use to look up the meaning of 'emasculating'," commented Kieran Healy.

The best guess Brin actually meant to say "embarrassing" – a word that would fit well enough into the sentence he used – and had an abrupt rush of testosterone to the brain.

He spoke while wearing a prototype of Google's new Glass augmented reality headset, which gives users the ability to take pictures, shoot video or look up details which are then displayed in a small screen above the right eye. He said that Glass represented a form which could be capable of delivering the dream that he and co-founder Larry Page have nurtured since Google began in 1998.

"My vision when we started Google 15 years ago was that eventually you wouldn't have to have a search query at all – the information would just come to you as you needed it," he said. Glass, added Brin, "is the first form factor that can deliver that vision". He said it had improved radically in the past two years since its first versions, which he said were "like a cellphone [mobile phone] strapped to your head".

Google on Wednesday closed applications to its "Explorers" scheme for would-be users of Glass – though not before one who claimed to be on the project had tried to auction off their pair of the $1,500 spectacles on eBay. Bidding had reached $16,000 before eBay stopped the auction on the basis that the seller did not yet have the item to sell. Google said that its conditions would prohibit transfer of the device to another person.

(c) 2013 Guardian Newspapers Limited.

[ Back To Real Time Communications's Homepage ]

Featured Videos

GenView Real Time Session Manager Demo

Session-based VoIP and rich media services such as video can place unique demands on the network.

GENBAND SPiDR - WebRTC Gateway

Contact GENBAND about the SPiDR™ WebRTC Gateway by clicking here.

A videoconference that calls you

On the busiest of days, who has time to stop and search for that bridge information, to have to dial or hope the link works...only to wait for the chairperson to arrive?

Call Grabber Demo

Move calls seamlessly between phones, soft clients and mobile devices at the push of a button.

Hosted Unified Communications

GENBAND's Hosted Unified Communications is a SMART OFFICE™ solution that enables voice over broadband to Business users, providing flexible migration from legacy services, supporting full regulatory features, and offering advanced services.

Featured Whitepapers

Is Your Network Ready for the Internet of Everything?

The telephone industry is undergoing a dramatic transformation that began with the introduction of IP-based data networks in the early 1990s and then with Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) in the late 1990s, and it now includes all forms ofvoice, video, and messaging communications.

Building a Secure and Scalable Multimedia IP Exchange

As fixed and mobile operators increasingly move to IP-based networks, the complexity required to interconnect these networks grows dramatically. Faced with increasing competition from all corners and constant challenge to grow revenues, operators are struggling with the variety and disparities in partner and customer networks.

How Carriers Can Optimize for LTE Roaming

Connectivity between mobile network operators (MNO) in 4G LTE is much more complex than it was in legacy networks.This complexity is primarily due to the change in focus. LTE is not a voice-focused roaming environment, but rather a datacentric environment.

Featured Case Studies

CASE STUDY: Real Time Communications Made Easy Via The Mobile Web

HubRTC offers the world's first WebRTC communication as a service to small and medium businesses, combining browser-based voice, video and messaging over WiFi that works on personal computers and Android smartphones and tablets. Their basic and premium solutions work with existing PBX applications servers, and support rich feature sets including voice mail and visual voice mail, audio and video conferencing, all for a fraction of the cost of old fashioned "phone systems." They have combined their Real Time Communications experts with software, devices and accessories, and cloud platforms to deliver a true office-on-the-run.

CASE STUDY: TW Telecom Accelerates Market Adoption of SIP Trunking Services

tw telecom is one of the top three largest providers of Business Ethernet in the US, connecting approximately 20,000 commercial buildings and third-party data centers to its national fiber network.

CASE STUDY: Embedding Real-Time Communications Into Digital Interactive Publishing Platforms

X-Factor Communications (XFC) is a premium provider of easy-to-use, interactive digital media software and services delivering single point publishing of Mass Notifications, advisories, emergency messages, rich informational content and advertising to any connected device.

Featured Webinars

WebRTC Applications for Service Providers using GENBAND'S SPiDR Gateway


GENBAND's SPiDR WebRTC Gateway provides an intelligent bridge between SIP/IMS based VoIP networks and the open ecosystem of the Internet. WebRTC holds great promise to revolutionize the nature of our daily communications. But what should you, as a service provider, be doing today to take advantage of this movement?

Best Practices in Deploying Hosted IP Telephony


Speaker: Sara Hughes and Mitch Layman

LTE, How Can You Accelerate The Payback? Diameter Signaling Controller


Speaker: Ashish Jain - Director Solutions Marketing