In Depth

Sergey Brin ridiculed for saying mobile phones 'emasculating'

But how can the 'geek' behind Google's Android OS tell people what is manly and what isn't?

GOOGLE founder Sergey Brin, whose company developed the Android operating system, has declared that smartphones are "emasculating" and claimed that his latest innovation, Google Glass, will help people interact better.

He said people's use of their mobile phones had become a nervous habit, like smoking, and meant they spent all their time looking down at the screen in their hand.

"You're actually socially isolating yourself with your phone," Brin told an audience at the Technology, Education and Design (TED) conference in Los Angeles, according to Wired. "I feel like it's kind of emasculating... You're standing there just rubbing this featureless piece of glass."

He said that Google Glass, a device that sits in front of the eye on a pair of spectacles, would mean that users were able to take in the world around them as information was relayed in their field of vision. He said testing the eyewear had "really opened my eyes to how much of my life I spent secluded away in email or social posts".

His comments prompted a strong reaction on technology websites.

PC Mag said that Brin's comments were "a dumb way to talk about technology" and noted that "the whole riff appeared to be an attempt to argue that the Google Glass spectacles he's thrown his weight behind over the past few years are supercharged engines of machismo".

John Gruber of tech blog Daring Fireball dismissed Brin's comments. "We're taking advice on cool from this guy? Seriously?".

San Francisco-based website Sfist.com agreed. Brin, a man who wears terminally-unfashionable Crocs shoes, was in no position to tell people that "your smartphone is totally making you look lame".

Plenty of Twitter users backed up that sentiment, pointing out that Brin was a renowned geek.

Bloomberg was equally confused by Brin's attack on mobiles. "Whatever their effect on the attributes usually associated with men, smartphones and other mobile devices are key to Google's future," it pointed out.

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