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BLOG: Why I didn't get early Google Glass hardware with #ifihadglass

Mark Gibbs | July 19, 2013
Google nixed facial recognition and now they're making hardware available to companies that "want to change the world"

When Google announced it would select who got early access to Google Glass hardware by sharing their pitch on Google Plus with the hashtag "#ifihadglass" I had to have a shot at it.

So it was that back in February this year I shared the following on Google Plus:

#ifihadglass I'd never have to struggle to remember who someone was when we met face-to-face and I'd know when we last met, where we were, what we talked about, and all the other stuff that too often escapes me ...

Google Plus user Ken Goldsholl replied "That's a good one, it should get you on the short list."

Alas, on May 31 Google announced that the company wouldn't allow an any apps that implemented  facial recognition on Glass because:

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.

Then the Glass Platform Developer Policies was updated and now section C reads:

Don't use the camera or microphone to cross-reference and immediately present personal information identifying anyone other than the user, including use cases such as facial recognition and voice print. Applications that do this will not be approved at this time.

Well, it looked like that pretty much killed off my hopes of getting any Glass hardware for what I see as an incredibly wimpy and wrong-headed decision by Google. Not only will developers and hackers find ways around the ban but competing products such asTelepathy will undoubtedly not only allow but encourage such functionality giving their products a serious edge over Glass.

google glass
Image: Telepathy, a competitor to Google Glass

So, what kind of #ifihadglass pitch did make it? I just got a press release from Rocksauce Studios, a mobile design and app development outfit, that announced that they had scored in Google's first round of releasing hardware and the pitch submitted by their CEO was:

"#ifihadglass I would create amazing apps that would change the world"

... to which I can only ask "Really, Google?! Change the world? That's meaty and profound enough to warrant early access?"

I'm disappointed in Google for their decision not to allow facial recognition, in Rocksauce for making a such a lame pitch, and in me, for not realizing that Google's decisions would be driven by pure marketing. #ifihadhadaclue


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