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Google's Brin says smartphones are antisocial, 'emasculating'

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Sergey Brin may pull in a good deal of money from the sale of smartphones running his company's Android operating system, but the Google co-founder recently aired some unflattering opinions on the devices, calling them "emasculating" and offering Google Glass as a solution to the societal problems they pose.

On Wednesday, Brin took the stage at TED2013, sporting his now ever-present Google Glass unit, and said the rise of the smartphone has led to people essentially getting addicted to antisocial behavior, according to the TED Blog.

"The cell phone is a nervous habit," Brin explained. "If I smoked, I'd probably smoke instead, it'd look cooler. But I whip this out and look as if I have something important to do."

While the increasingly ubiquitous smartphone has given users access to more data in more places than ever before, Brin says the way people access that data requires them to disconnect from the world around them. In fact, he says, the reliance on smartphones is somewhat degrading.

"Is this the way you're meant to interact with other people?" Brin continued. "It's kind of emasculating. You're just rubbing this featureless piece of glass. Is this what you're meant to do with your body?"

Google Glass, the wearable computing device developed by Brin's Google X Lab group, is his way of moving past the hunched, glass screen interactions that have come to characterize the mobile data experience.

"When we started Google 15 years ago," he explained, "my vision was that information would come to you as you need it. You wouldn't have to query at all."

Brin hopes that the head-mounted computing unit will allow people to leave their smartphones in their pockets, instead calling up information when they need it and going about their lives when they don't.

Google Glass will be compatible with both iPhones and Android handsets when it becomes available to consumers some time later this year. Wearable computing has become an increasingly popular concept in the tech media, and rumors abound that Apple is working on an iWatch as well as experimenting with head-mounted displays.