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Google: We won't approve Glass facial recognition apps, for now

updated 01:55 pm EDT, Sun June 2, 2013

Google says facial recognition Glassware is a no go

Google will not be approving any facial recognition apps for its Google Glass wearable computing device, citing privacy concerns. The Project Glass team made the announcement on Friday in a post to its Google+ page. The decision reportedly came after the team listened to an immense amount of feedback from Glass users and people concerned about the impact of the technology.

The text of the Glass team's post is as follows:


When we started the Explorer Program nearly a year ago our goal was simple: we wanted to make people active participants in shaping the future of this technology ahead of a broader consumer launch.  We've been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass. As Google has said for several years, 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.

We've learned a lot from you in just a few weeks and we'll continue to learn more as we update the software and evolve our policies in the weeks and months ahead.


Project Glass' product manager also made a similar statement two weeks ago, saying that the company has consistently said it will not add face recognition features to its services "unless we have strong privacy protections in place."

A number of commenters on the post noted that since Glass has already been hacked, it would be entirely possible for a Glass owner to side load an unapproved Glass app, with Google's approval or disapproval inconsequential.

As both a head-mounted display and a head-mounted camera, Glass could conceivably be paired with software that would take images from the camera and compare them against readily available images of persons on the Internet. The privacy implications of the technology have been one of the major points of discussion essentially since Google introduced it last year.



By Electronista Staff
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