Google won't yet approve Glassware that uses facial recognition

Taking into account user feedback, the policy will evolve in the coming weeks and months

Writing on its official Project Glass Google+ page, Google explained that because of privacy concerns it will not be approving Glassware (apps for Glass) that take advantage of facial recognition technology. While a consumer release of Glass may still be several months away, there are now enough people out there with Explorer Edition units that Google felt the need to address this concern. One of the biggest struggles it is fighting with Glass currently is concerns over privacy, and following its current company line on the use of facial recognition it thinks that now is not the time to include it.

Google says that it is listening to feedback from early users of Glass, and will be evolving its policy on facial recognition software in the coming weeks and months. We of course know that with a little bit of hacking non-approved Glassware including facial recognition could easily be added to Glass, but in these fragile stages of building public perception of the product it is best for Google to have an official stance here.

Source: +Project Glass

Andrew Martonik

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

  • This seems like a smart idea let people get used to it before you introduce the features that may be taboo
  • I wonder if my employer would allow me to wear this (Google Glass) to work, I guess eventually Google glass will disappear into the frame of ones glasses and no one will be the wiser.
  • My thought on how it should work: To be recognized, a person has to have a Google + account, and have facial recognition turned to on, and you can have it set to friends, everybody, or specific individuals.
  • Why would you Need facial recognition of your friends? Wouldn't you know what they look like already? I don't want google glass turning into facebook and seeing friends of friends of friends. Plus You don't want it turning into some type of stalker app.
  • Special apps that could do things based on who is in front of you, or if you for example want to send someone something to their phone (a link or picture) instead of scrolling through contacts you just select the pic and hit share then look at them. Something along the lines of that.
  • Or let people opt-in.
    Personally I wouldn't mind if when a random stranger (or friend) walking around San Francisco looked at me it prompted the Glass wearer to check out my Google+ page.
  • And if you opt-out, it will blur out your face.
  • I don't see what the big deal is. So it has facial recognition or not? Big deal.
  • Until some skeezy 35 year old man walks up to your 15 yr old daughter at the mall and says, "Hi Stacey, are you here with your friends from Lakeville Highschool?" -Suntan
  • Hi stacey, just saw you added that dress to your pinterest, would like me to get that for you as a gift? You can try it on in my windowless van filled with candy. Of course if she has glass on, you can check in and see what she is doing and where she is at anytime you want, as a parent it could be good. Better than a GPS dot on a map
  • nice lululemon shirt sergey
  • >"Google says that it is listening to feedback from early users of Glass" How about the feedback of the victims? Get rid of the camera completely and almost all of the privacy and creepy issues vanish, along with some of the rudeness. Want to take a photo/video? Pull out your phone which you have with you anyway.
  • Victims? Melodramatic much?
  • I agree, Google should just drop the camera, because it's just going to earn this device a huge backlash.
  • Do you realize how much functionality this loses if the camera is dropped? I certainly wouldn't buy Google Glass if it didn't have a camera.
  • But it is not all about the user/buyer. That is my point. There is TONS of functionality still there, even without a camera. It might seem like a radical move, but it might also be a brilliant one and could turn the product around in a lot of people's minds. The question is would it do more good than harm to remove it- I think a surprising amount of people would say "yes". Of course there will be dozens of replies saying they don't understand why anyone would have any concerns about privacy (usually by people who don't care about privacy or security or are too uninformed to comprehend it or lazy enough to ignore it). And just as many trying to build a case that it is the same as cameras in phones (which it certainly is nothing the same). This doesn't surprise me coming from a Google-centric/tech-centric site.
  • It actually gains very little functionality by having a camera. A camera is not needed for VR displays because Virtual Reality is already built into most phones: They know which why they are facing, the know where you are. They could tell you whats on the menu at the restaurant you are looking at. Other than sharing your vision with a friend somewhere else (gimmick), the camera adds nothing. Its just not necessary. It will prevent Google Glass from being all that it could be, simply due to public backlash.
  • Victims? I think that's taking it a bit far. And presumably if someone is offended or feels uncomfortable with Google Glass, they'll be telling the person wearing it how it bothers them... and in that case the Glass user can give the feedback to Google. The camera is a huge feature of the device, don't count on them dropping that any time soon (or at all).
  • And how many people have been victimized through the internet-you know, that thing you used to post your comment? It's still here.
  • People have been filming and taking pictures of others in secret way before Google glass came along. Ever heard of a peeping Tom? Voyeur? Would you be fine with me taking a million pictures of you with my cell phone just because you can see me doing it? That argument really doesn't hold up. You might as well remove cameras from all devices.
  • Seems to me that snapping a shot from your eyes while walking down the street and sending it fluidly would be one of the coolest parts. And navigation.
  • "One of the biggest struggles it is fighting with Glass currently is concerns over privacy..." No struggles over the dork factor apparently.
  • Pretty easy to sideload anything you want on Android. I wouldn't expect this to be much more difficult.
  • I like tech but the creep factor here is too high. Have the glasses blink with red led lights when its taking a picture so we know its happening. This god damn thing will get banned in several states because its the perfect tool for perverts to take pics with. Not kidding Google better address this or the outcry will kill this where it stands. This is why you can not turn off the shutter sound when you take a pic on your phone. People bitched so it got changed.
  • >" Have the glasses blink with red led lights when its taking a picture so we know its happening." Mostly useless because any such light will be easily disabled with software or not be visible from certain angles or distance. Much easier to just remove the camera and be done with it.
  • Likewise, anyone already willing to secretly videotape something can discreetly add a camera to the device. In fact, all the concerns you have over this device also apply to smartphones. Anyone can videotape/take a picture of something while pretending to be casually using their phone. Why don't we then remove cameras from all phones?
  • The people that complain here about the camera are the same group who complained about full body scanners at the airport. Privacy? Perverts? Are you kidding me? You do realize that the camera is ON YOUR FACE... So the perv world is so happy about being able to get their face right into a young lady's cleavage and snap a photo. You do realize that even if you did this WITHOUT Glass on your head, you're a perv. How the hell is this going to change anything. Are you so self absorbed that you think people are really going to take your picture, or your wife's, and go home and look at a clothed, low resolution, distanced, ankle shot for hours with a bottle of wine and a viagra? Get over it.
  • Yep, you jut don't "get it".... but you are certainly not alone. Try thinking about the difference between someone pulling out a camera/phone and aiming it around (overt) and something that is always "on" and always pointed at others' faces (covert). Anyone who can't tell the difference has severely impaired social skills. It is not the same as someone looking at you with their eyes.
    It is not the same as a pocket camera.
    It is not the same as a cell phone.
    It is not the same as a security camera.
    It is not the same as a portable pinhole spy camera (although close). It is many orders of magnitude more invasive, especially if it becomes a socially accepted "norm".
  • So let me get this straight... You'd rather have someone have a keyhole camera in your bathroom watching you take a dump then someone with an "always on camera" pointed right AT YOUR FACE (yeah, self absorbed)? Good luck with that, boss. Honestly the only people I could see not wanting to be on camera are fat and/or ugly people, which no one wants to look at that anyway.
  • No I would not. But pinhole cameras are rare and not socially acceptable. And if caught with one/using one, there might be severe social or employment consequences (and possibly legal ones too). If an "always on" head-mounted camera were socially acceptable, you would encounter them many thousands of times more frequently than spy cameras. Has nothing to do with being fat/ugly, there are hundreds of possible abuses. And that doesn't even begin to address the creepiness of feeling like everything you do or say is being recorded by people around you all the time. Want to test it? Why not walk around with your phone in your hand, held up like you are recording everyone around you for long periods and see what types of reactions you get. Try it on the street, at dinner with your friends, in a store, in a public bathroom, at a playground, at church, at school, at work, on a bus....
  • Looks like you never dug around the app store... You don't need to walk around with your phone out. Just download secret video recorder..its already in the play store. Don't want the camera making noise..root it. Point is creeps will creep..i hardly doubt a camera in glasses will make much diff.
  • Looks like you never dug around the app store... You don't need to walk around with your phone out. Just download secret video recorder..its already in the play store. Don't want the camera making noise..root it. Point is creeps will creep..i hardly doubt a camera in glasses will make much diff.
  • Why don't they just list what we can do with Glass? I'll. To me all i read about glass is what you can't or aren't allowed to do.
  • I'm going to be blunt... who in their right mind will wear Google Glass out in public?
    It makes the wearer look like dorks.
  • Facial recognition + Airport Security = Market that sh** :-)
  • I see a huge opportunity for this kind of technology. I could see facial recognition being used more for aw enforcement purposed, but not consumer use. Imagine having a terrorist thread or a similar incident to what happened at the Boston marathon. Having law enforcement be able to use facial recognition to pick out a suspect in a large crowd would be very valuable. On the flip side, there would have to be huge limitations on how this technology could be used used. If law enforcement could easily use it to profile people.
  • Project glass should be cancelled, and should never have existed.
    This is the worst thing invented since the nuclear bomb.
  • Welcome.. To The Year 2013..
  • I'll take Drama Queens for 500 Alex.
  • Nah, this is a true Daily Double on a $2000 question in Double Jeopardy.
  • Let me see if I get this... A person puts their life on Faceplant, etc, and as a result might be "recognized" by a stranger. This is a privacy issue? People who want to be public like that get what they deserve, like robbed while out of town after broadcasting their itinerary. It's a stupidity issue, with shades of narcissism and insecurity.
  • I totally want my face recognized, with a pop-up display saying how awesome I am and my pricing structure and available payment methods. No, I'm not a hooker.