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Google Glass won't allow facial recognition apps (for now)

Posting in Technology

Google Glass, the wearable computer eyepiece that has caused concern among privacy advocates, will not allow facial recognition apps--for now.

Google made the announcement on its Project Glass Google+ account this week. Here's the full excerpt:

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.

Google Glass, perhaps the most anticipated piece of tech since the iPhone, promises a seemingly endless number of ways to interact, allowing users to record anything and post it to the Web in seconds. This unprecedented amount of interactivity also creates plenty of opportunity to invade one's privacy, critics argue.

Google Glass is not expected to be available to the public until next year. And yet, state legislators are already considering bans on Google Glass while driving, and businesses, such as strip clubs, theaters and bars, have outlawed use of gadget.

Google is wise to proceed with caution and careful wording around privacy issues. Their announcement clearly leaves open the possibility of changing its stance on facial recognition apps.

Photo: Google

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— By on June 4, 2013, 4:06 AM PST

Kirsten Korosec

Contributing Editor

Kirsten Korosec has written for Technology Review, Marketing News, The Hill, BNET and Bloomberg News. She holds a degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. She is based in Tucson, Arizona. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure