Google Glass is a fascinating, absolutely game-changing piece of technology that promises to alter the way people interact with eachother, the Internet and the world around them. Which may be why it received such polarized reactions when first introduced. Many people balked at the idea of being recorded at any time without their knowledge, while others envisioned a platform that delivered ever-more intrusive ads in the display. Well, on that second point at least, people can put away their pitchforks with Google announcing there will be no ads in Glass – at least for the time-being. In fact, Google won’t even allow developers to charge for apps, putting the focus squarely on “innovation and experimentation.”
All this raises a number of questions. As wearable tech becomes more ubiquitous, will people stop tolerating display ads altogether? If ads eventually do roll out on Glass or a similar device, will ad blocking software be available – or will the solution lie in the pricing model, where people simply pay more to hide ads? What about creative uses of technology where a user is alerted to a sale going on at a store as they walk by – will there be a way for users to opt in to different types of communication?
I also wonder if Google is instead stifling innovation by not allowing devs to charge for apps. While developers might roll out apps on Glass that have already been built for other devices or in the hopes that they can charge for Glassware later on, I struggle to find a reason why anyone would develop for the device outside of the sheer novelty of it.
One thing is certain, when it comes to sexual content, Google is following Apple’s lead with a decidely prudish stance saying, “Our policies make it clear that Glass does not allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sex acts, or sexually explicit material. Any Glassware that violates this policy will be blocked from appearing on Glass.” This comes after shutting down the first porn app for the device (named, ahem, “Tits and Glass”) and updating their developer policy.
It remains to be seen how vigilant Google will be at policing its device or how creative advertisers (and for that matter, pornographers) will have to become to circumvent them in order to get their content (literally) in front of people’s eyeballs.