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BLOG: In case you need another reason to hate Google Glass

Robert X. Cringely | Sept. 2, 2013
Wearable PC stars in a Silicon Valley scandal involving Google co-founder. Say, Sergey, how do you feel about privacy now?

We live in serious times. We're on the cusp of yet another war in the Middle East. Each day brings new stories about how national intelligence agencies are demolishing what's left of our private lives while delivering very little actionable intelligence. Chinese and Syrian hackers are attacking our most cherished media institutions. The gulf between rich and poor has never been greater, our schools are a shambles, and the quality of life for most of us is deteriorating while our politicians seem to be operating in an alternate reality.

But let's forget all that for a moment and focus on something more important: A soap opera is unfolding in Silicon Valley, and it's a doozy.

The common notion is that all people at the Googleplex do is work work work, 24/7/365, interrupted by occasional Segway rides to the closest gourmet buffet. That myth is about to be dispelled in a big way. It appears that Sergey Brin is smack dab in the middle of what some are calling a "love quadrangle." Here's the story so far.

Previously on...
Brin married Anne Wojcicki, founder of genetics analysis firm 23andMe, in a remote island wedding six years ago. Some months ago, Brin and Wojcicki quietly separated.

So far, no scandal. Well, it turns out the 40-year-old Brin has apparently been playing Google Doodles with Amanda Rosenberg, a 26-year-old marketing manager for Google Glass often photographed wearing same. (She apparently is the one who came up with the phrase "OK Glass" to activate the dingus. You can thank and/or revile her later.)

Meanwhile, Rosenberg had been dating Hugo Barra, another Google executive in charge of Android. Barra just left Google for a job with Xiaomi in China. Talk about taking a hint.

Now Google's embroiled in a controversy that has nothing to do with its insatiable appetite for all of our data, and Brin's private life is buttered all over the InterWebs. Welcome to the club, Sergey.

I don't normally like to make light of one's personal struggles (we've all been there), but when you're a $22 billion magnate who's decided to change the world in ways that may or may not be evil, depending on your mood, it comes with the territory. Consider it a power and influence tax.

Hence the venture into TMZ territory that this blog, along with many other tech media sources, is now taking. Hey, it beats talking about a twerking Miley Cyrus or whatever oversweetened concoction they're naming the next Android after.

Enquiring minds want to know
So many questions, so little chance of getting anyone involved to respond. Still:

  • Were Sergey and Amanda swapping bits while he was still shacked up with the missus? Is that the reason they split?
  • Was Amanda making the G+ beast with Sergey behind Barra's back? Is that why he took the high road to China?
  • Will this impact Google's share price? (No, I don't care about this either, but I feel like I'm supposed to ask.)
  • Will Barra's departure alter Google's plans for Android? (Ditto.)
  • Will Android "Key Lime Pie" now be more bitter than sweet?
  • How much is Ann W's prenup worth in cold hard cash?
  • Does she have Sergey's DNA sequence squirreled away in a safety deposit box, as insurance?
  • Do Sergey and Mandy both wear Google Glass when they, ahem, swap data?


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