Google On Glass Privacy Issues & Congress: “Social Cues” Will Help, Plus It Takes Trust Seriously


Google Glass isn’t even available for consumers and some in US Congress are already formally raising privacy questions. Google’s reaction? Privacy has been “top of mind” as it has developed Glass, and it takes trust seriously. It also feels that “social cues” may help with some concerns.

Google was asked about the Congressional letter during a “fireside chat” session about Google Glass at its Google I/O conference today.

Google Glass director Steve Lee responded as paraphrased below:

From the beginning, the social implications of wearing Glass have been at the top of our mind as we develop the product. We’re also concerned about the implications for people around those who wear Glass.

We moved the display above your eye, because eye contact is important.

To shoot photos or video, there are clear social cues; you have to press a button or speak to glass. It’s a very clear cue for people around you that you’re taking a photo or video.

We take trust and the reliability of our software very seriously; our design is done to ensure that the display is active when device is in use. You can see from the other side of Glass when it’s active. Our policy for developers will be that you have to allow that.

The Glass team follows the same data policies as the rest of Google in terms of how it handles data gathered through Glass.

Facial recognition was prototyped early on, but isn’t currently in our product plans. But, Google or third parties may do it in the future.

Postscript: We’ve now received an official formal statement from Google:

We are thinking very carefully about how we design Glass because new technology always raises new issues. Our Glass Explorer program, which reaches people from all walks of life, will ensure that our users become active participants in shaping the future of this technology.

Related Topics: Channel: Consumer | Google: Glass | Google: Legal


About The Author: is Founding Editor of Marketing Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search marketing and internet marketing issues, who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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  • John Doe

    ….Now as if the effort it takes to pull the smartphone out, point and click is getting too much for the digitally distracted kind, we need a google glass to keep us in permanent social nirvana, feeding the brain digital mood enhancers and desensitizing us to the joys of simpler pleasures,…

  • ZimmFimm

    OK wow, I never thought about it like that before.

  • brock_chezbeaux

    I contacted my congressman to thank him for looking into this.

  • Kevin Getch

    It’s no different than a cell phone. I could have my cell phone in my pocket videotaping you and you’d be less aware than someone wearing Google Glass.

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