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Google Glass facial recognition apps not allowed until “strong privacy protections” are in place

Google announced via Google Plus that it won't allow apps that include facial recognition features until “strong privacy protections” will be in place.
June 2, 2013
Google Glass
The Google Glass kiosk at I/O 2013

Posting on its Project Glass Google+ page, Google revealed that it won’t allow Google Glass apps that use facial recognition features for the time being, as long as “strong privacy protections” aren’t in place.

The news is not unsurprising considering the on-going privacy-related debate we’re witnessing in connection with Google Glass. Even at Google I/O, the company tried to address such privacy concerns for the wearable gadget that can take easily take pictures and record videos, as some people including the U.S. Congress are afraid of the potentially malicious uses of Glass that could affect one’s privacy.

In its short message, available below, Google did not elaborate on what “strong privacy protections” would be, and how they’re supposed to work when it comes to facial recognition features. We’re certainly going to find out more details about it in the near future, suffice to say that for now Google will not officially approve any apps that make use of the technology.

Before Google I/O, Eric Schmidt did comment on Glass a couple of times, agreeing that the talking to Glass may be strange, and saying that at first Google will have to pay close attention to Glass apps approval and etiquette.

Here’s Google’s full message related to facial recognition and privacy:

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.

Let’s here it from potential Glass buyers, what are your thoughts on Google Glass so far?