Google won't approve Glass apps with facial recognition until it implements privacy protection

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| June 1, 2013

Google Glass white

Google Glass is a product that exciting to many people thanks to its ability to display information on its small display and capture both photos and video using its built-in camera. However, that built-in camera has also raised some privacy concerns from folks that feel uneasy about Glass wearers having a camera that's constantly mounted to their head. Tonight Google attempted to assuage some of the concerns surrounding Glass with a new Google+ post on facial recognition.

On the official Project Glass Google+ page, Google explains that it has a policy to disallow facial recognition in its products until it's rolled out "strong privacy protections." The company says that that's the same case with Google Glass, meaning that Google will not be approving any Glass apps with facial recognition until its got privacy protection in place. 

Google also outlined some other Glass policies to AllThingsD. For example, Google will not allow developers to disable Glass's display while the unit's camera is in use. This is meant to make it easier for others to know when a Glass unit is capturing photos or video by seeing that the unit's display is lit up. Google also added its existing Android policies regarding hate speech, gambling and explicit material to the Glass terms of use.

Google Glass is currently only available to Explorer Program members, with #ifihadglass contest winners joining them soon. Google says that it's using this early period in Glass's lifecycle to listen to users and the public and to shape its policies accordingly. The company's statement on facial recognition apps shows that it hears the concerns that consumers have about Glass and that it will do what it needs to in order to help integrate Glass into everyday life, both for the wearer and for others. I'm sure that dedicated users could hack facial recognition apps onto Glass if they really want to, but many folks will still be relieved to see Google taking a stand on the matter.

Via +Project Glass, AllThingsD