April 19, 2013

Did You Score Google Glass? Don’t Plan On Reselling It

Google is putting its Glass product on lock down. As the first pieces of hardware begin to arrive to the early test group, the company that typically is known for its open and share-friendly products is taking a different approach to Google Glass.

The company’s terms of service for its wearable computer state very clearly that reselling or loaning the hardware is strictly forbidden. On section of the terms state:

“you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty.”

Inevitably some people will try to re-sell the devices on eBay and someone will probably buy it. What they won’t count on is how Google will be able to remotely zap the device, turning it into a $1,500 eyeglass frame.

Google is taking a far different approach with its Glass product than it did with Android. This is not surprising, as Glass is a Google-designed hardware that seeks to usher in an era of wearable computers. Google wants to retain tight control over this new operating system and has no plans to freely distribute it the way it did with Android.

Google Glass is a set of eyewear that displays information and can take video and still images. It is activated through voice commands and is planned to have applications, much like a smartphone. The first recipients were selected through the Google Glass Explorer Program, where potential buyers had to state on public media what their plans were for the device.

With Glass coming to the wild, we are entering the era where a company retains control of the software and operating system inside of a device, even after you purchase it. While this can create for some great experiences it has implications for what it truly means to own something when you buy it. This and other issues make Glass something to keep an eye on.

Image Credit: Google Glass

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