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With Glass, Google Steals 'Control Freak' Label From Apple

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Testers may not resell or loan their Glass. Developers may not use advertisements or charge for download or use of their apps. Failure to comply will result in deactivation.

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Developers Are Limited

Perhaps even more surprising are the limits that Google has put on developers for the first wave of Google Glass: Developers will not be allowed to advertise on the Glass' screen, nor will they be able to charge any fee for their apps. Therefore, all the typical routes for developer revenue have been cut, at least for now. Additionally, Google wrote in the terms of use:

You may not use user date from your API Client for advertising purposes. You may not sell or transmit any user data received from your API Client(s) to a third-party ad network or service, data broker, or other advertising or marketing provider.

On top of it all, developers must agree to distribute their software exclusively through Google. This raises the question: How will developers make money with the Google Glass platform, without any download fees or advertisements? Perhaps Google will pay developers directly for apps? Or the company may change its terms in the future.

Another question is raised: Will Google employ (and/or eventually sell) user data for advertising purposes, thereby guaranteeing itself a Google Glass-gathered data advertising monopoly? The company says it won't display ads on Glass itself, but in our multiple-screen world, data from Glass devices around the world could potentially inform mobile and desktop ads. As the current terms spell out, third-party developers are strictly prohibited from sharing or selling any information they gather from the devices of Glass testers, but it's not clear what Google intends to do with its data.

Will These Limits Be the Status Quo?

When you add the Internet, tech-savvy consumers, and huge companies that release potentially industry-changing devices every few years, you get speculation and rumors. These strict limits on consumers and developers may well be just part of the Glass' first days of public use, and will disappear when the device is openly and wildly sold. If, however, this is not the case, a backlash is likely, but will it change anything?

Perhaps most amazing is that, with current technology, we live in a time when such a policy is possible, when Google can remotely deactivate Google Glass if a user strays from the terms of use. That this is possible is amazing enough, but that a company would actually employ such a policy seems fit for a science fiction novel.

It's likely that these strict terms of use are meant to protect the product in its infancy before more lax rules are set in place for a wide release. Still, such limitations on consumers, along with news of, among other things, illegal data collection in Germany, make scrutiny of Google inevitable and necessary.

Follow me on Twitter: @JoshWolonick and @Minyanville
No positions in stocks mentioned.
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