Sarah Slocum Google Glass

Google Glass wearer attacked in San Francisco and accused of "killing" the city

News: a woman has been attacked in a San Francisco bar for wearing Google Glass, in the latest conflict amid increasing tension between the city's residents and the tech giants who have based their headquarters in the area.

Social media consultant Sarah Slocum was wearing a Google Glass head-mounted computer at Molotov's bar in the Lower Haight neighbourhood when the incident occurred at the end of last month. The attack came to international attention this weekend as a symbol of the division in San Francisco over being the epicentre of the internet age, with one of the aggressors accusing Slocum of "killing this city".

As one of the Google Glass Explorers tasked with testing and promoting the device for Google's development team, Slocum was showing its features to people in the bar when others became agitated by the gadget’s presence.

"A few minutes later, they cursed at me," Slocum told journalists after the incident. "I started feeling threatened. At that point I decided I was going to turn on the camera and start recording this hateful, threatening behaviour."

Slocum explained that a man then pulled the device off her face and ran out of the bar. The consultant pursued and managed to recover the headset, which she had used to record what was happening.

"What makes this story special," Slocum wrote on her Facebook page, "is that no one has experienced a hate crime or been targeted for a hate crime, which is what it was, for wearing Google Glass."

 Google Glass headset
The Google Glass headset

The news follows a spate of other incidents in San Francisco where residents have targeted Google and other tech companies in an anti-technology backlash against Silicon Valley corporations.

The city has experienced huge rent increases as a result of large numbers of the 44,000 employees of tech firms, based 30 miles away in Silicon Valley, choosing to live in San Francisco. Rental prices rose between 10 and 135 percent over the past year in San Francisco's various neighbourhoods, according to a report by the London Review of Books.

Another topic of contention is the use of private buses to transport employees from the city out to company campuses in Silicon Valley. Known collectively as Google buses, residents say their presence has lead to increased congestion and starved local public transport of a much-needed revenue stream.

According to city planner Alexandra Goldman, rental prices within walking distance of Google bus stops are rising up to 20 percent faster than the rental prices outside the walkable distance.

As a result, there have been a number of protests against use of the buses in the city. In December last year, a window of a Google bus was smashed by protestors holding a sign saying, "F*ck off Google".

Tech tenants are putting pressure on commercial leasing in San Francisco itself, with companies like Airbnb, Pinterest and Twitter filling nearly a quarter of the city's available office square footage.

Shops and restaurants in San Francisco have also begun banning the use of Google Glass as the technology can be used to record and live-stream video footage.