Google Glass to ban facial recognition apps over privacy concerns

By on June 3, 2013, 2:00 PM
google, software, privacy, apps, facial recognition, wearable computing, google glass

Wearable is being heralded as the next big thing and Google Glass is certainly one of the main driving forces behind this movement. But in addition to the steep $1,500 price tag attached to these futuristic glasses during the Explorer Program open to a limited number of early adopters, prospective buyers have also had to put up with the ongoing privacy debate. Now it seems as though Google may have finally provided an answer.

In an online post targeted at software developers, the company wrote, “We won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.”

The decision to ban such software looks to be a smart move on their part considering their long history of privacy 'sins.' Aside from their extensive collection of personal data, Forbes notes a recent mishap where Street View cars were found to be gathering sensitive user information from unsecured Wi-Fi signals as they roamed the streets -- resulting in a $7 million fine in the US and a couple of smaller fines related to the same case.

Another example of Google failing to evolve a product from prototype to something that's acceptable for the consumer market is Buzz -- a social networking feature that went awry. Buzz was automatically activated on all user email accounts, and provided the user with a list of people to follow, as well as a list of people who would follow their own updates. Although the premise may have seemed good at the time, Google made the mistake of not asking for their client’s permission – a huge blunder that sparked a public outcry.

It seems Google has learned from experience and is wisely proceeding with caution. The decision might also have something to do with the eight US lawmakers who recently sent a letter to the tech giant, explaining that they are “curious whether this new technology could infringe on the privacy of the average American.”

Regardless of the reasons for the facial recognition ban, tech enthusiasts should focus on the plethora of new apps that are being built for the platform. Twitter and Facebook have already produced Glass-enabled programs, with several other developers currently working on more.




User Comments: 13

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1 person liked this | LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

This is a bit of a shame for me. I was hoping to get a pair to help with relationship management. I'm so bad with names that this would have been an ideal use for me.

2 people like this | Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

You don't need to spend $1500 to remember names, you can jot them down on a pad and that would cost you $1.50, pen included. If I spent $1500 on Google's Glasses I'd sure like my creditors forget my name.

1 person liked this | Saintnsinner said:

If you were single it would helped keep track of all the women you dated. There's nothing worse then that awkward morning after, "what was your name again" moment.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

If you were single it would helped keep track of all the women you dated. There's nothing worse then that awkward morning after, "what was your name again" moment.
If you are too lazy to do as @Skidmarksdeluxe mentioned, Google Glass will not help. lol

LNCPapa LNCPapa said:

There are some jobs where you may interact with many people and sometimes those interactions are far between. Let's say I then go to a conference where I know at least 100 people I've interacted with before from different companies will also be attending. Wouldn't it be great to walk up to any of these people and know where we've crossed paths and what organization/department they belong/belonged to?

p51d007 said:

Google bans it.....yeah, that will work....NOT.

About 2 seconds after it is released to the masses, someone will hack it to allow side loading, and that's all it will take.

coppersloane coppersloane said:

Love reading the ridiculous hypothetical scenarios people are concocting here as to how Glass could make your life better. Keep trying.

1 person liked this | coppersloane coppersloane said:

If anyone wearing this device identifies me or any of my family, I'll be suing the hell out of Google, and the individual. I'm ready for it.

MilwaukeeMike said:

If anyone wearing this device identifies me or any of my family, I'll be suing the hell out of Google, and the individual. I'm ready for it.

You do know that this device does sit right in front of the most effective facial recognition system in existence right now, that being the eyes and brain. I could see the fear though if you're in the witness protection program or something.

Remember that funny commercial where the guy is speed dating and gets constantly caught in his lies by the girl because she's got a super fast smartphone and she's checking his facebook? I could see Glass helping out in a situation like that.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Remember that funny commercial where the guy is speed dating and gets constantly caught in his lies by the girl because she's got a super fast smartphone and she's checking his facebook? I could see Glass helping out in a situation like that.
Hahaha

Facebook is evil! Google Glass is evil!

Don't look in the mirror, and we will never see the root of all evil.

I believe everything has potential for good or evil, it all depends on our(aka: everyone) intentions of usage.

1 person liked this | PC nerd PC nerd said:

Who is dumb enough to buy this crap?

$1500 is a lot of money to pay, just to look like an *****. I can do it for free.

1 person liked this | avoidz avoidz said:

If you were single it would helped keep track of all the women you dated. There's nothing worse then that awkward morning after, "what was your name again" moment.

Don't reckon you'd have much chance on getting a date wearing one of those things.

captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

This is a bit of a shame for me. I was hoping to get a pair to help with relationship management. I'm so bad with names that this would have been an ideal use for me.
Relax, once you've been as bad with names as I am, for as many decades as I have, you'll develop workarounds....

Don't reckon you'd have much chance on getting a date wearing one of those things.
I won't matter. The glasses will come with an "inflatable date", and the glasses will provide a lifelike 3D overlay in the heads up display.

Best date you ever had, and she won't be able to out eat you at the restaurant.

The deluxe version will contain no messy algorithms related to moral standards.

"The face of an angel, the soul of a pornstar", who could ask for more, Code name: "Pinocchiette".....

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