The Viral Video Of A Thief Stealing Google Glass Is Likely A Hoax

The video has the makings of virality, but some things don’t add up.


Last week, a Google Glass user uploaded a video of what seemed like a perfect, wholesome day in New York City, complete with a visit to the Statue of Liberty and a ride on a roller coaster. A perfect day, that is, until a thief at a park steals his head-up display. Unbeknownst to this Glass-snatcher, however, the unit continued recording, and the victim got a first-person view of the rest of the thief’s day, which involved hanging around an office, commuting home, stopping at a liquor store, and pregaming before hitting up a rave.


This video, uploaded by YouTube user Mike Geller, has the makings of virality–a controversial piece of tech hardware and an out-of-towner getting taken advantage of in a cold, heartless city. In four days, the video amassed more than 150,000 views.

But some things don’t add up. Recording is a feature that requires Glass to be tethered to the smartphone. If a thief were to run away with someone else’s pair of Google Glass, the video would’ve abruptly shut off once the unit were a certain distance away and no longer connected to the smartphone.

Though a Google spokesman declined to comment on the veracity of the video, he confirmed that a livestreaming app requires Glass to be connected over Wi-Fi or to a smartphone. “If you’re using it outdoors, as soon as you walk away, out of range of wherever the tether would be, then it would lose connection,” he said.

Furthermore, Glass has notoriously terrible battery life, about 45 minutes of continuous recording, according to some Glass Explorers.

All in all, it’s unlikely that:

  1. Glass remained recording after the tether to its smartphone was broken.
  2. Glass’s battery life could record so much footage.
  3. The thief never took the time to examine the $1,500 high-tech electronic device he stole. Throughout this video, we’re never shown his face.
  4. The thief never noticed the indicator light, which is turned on when Glass is recording.

We also couldn’t help notice the logo at the bottom-right corner for livestreaming app Livelens. The signs point there (though the company hasn’t promoted the video on any of its social channels). We’ve reached out to Livelens to comment on the video.

About the author

Based in San Francisco, Alice Truong is Fast Company's West Coast correspondent. She previously reported in Chicago, Washington D.C., New York and most recently Hong Kong, where she (left her heart and) worked as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal