If you were excited about seeing facial recognition capabilities coming to Google Glass, there may be some disappointment in store for you. Google has confirmed in a post that the feature won't come to Glass, until they have “strong privacy protections in place” – bringing some relief to privacy advocates not too happy about facial recognition.
“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,” Google elaborated in that post.
No facial recognition for now
Director of Product Management, Glass, Steve Lee recently told the New York Times that the company had no plans for facial recognition technology making it to Glass for now. “We’ve consistently said that we won’t add new face recognition features to our services unless we have strong privacy protections in place.”
Glass, one of Google's upcoming products has been in the limelight for a long time with its fair share of supporters and critics. The main concern of the critics has been the privacy aspect of those not wearing the device. In fact, a letter from the US Congress to Google CEO Larry Page sought answers to questions like whether Glass could breach the privacy of an average American.
During one of its recent conference sessions – an open discussion about Glass – members of the Glass team answered a question about privacy by noting that social implications and etiquette have been a big area of focus during the development of the product, which is still a test version.
Ryan Calo, a University of Washington law professor who specialises in privacy and technology, said Glass is not very different from other technologies available today, whether it is a smartphone or “spy” pens that secretly record audio. But Glass is on people's faces, so it feels different.
“The face is a really intimate place and to have a piece of technology on it is unsettling,” Calo said. “Much as a drone is unsettling because we have some ideas of war.”