Google announced late Friday that it will outlaw facial recognition and other biometric identification apps on Glass, its networked eyewear still in prototype phase that’s expected to be commercially released later this year.
“As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place,” Google’s Project Glass team said in on its Google Plus page.
Google may have publicly said this, however until now its developer policy did not explicitly rule out apps that can do facial recognition.
If it’s a camera, it can be used for facial recognition. Facial recognition is really just a specific type of image analysis. It doesn’t matter where the image comes from. It could be a 19th Century daguerreotype or a picture taken from space. The software doesn’t care. Presumably running the open source Android operating system, as a head-mounted sensor array with a camera, there is little or nothing preventing application developers from passing images collected via the headset through facial recognition applications not developed by Google.
Google’s announcement should be taken to mean that Google isn’t going to integrate facial recognition into Google Glass. Facial recognition apps won’t be on the Google Play store. And, at least for now, they won’t be facilitating face rec. in other Google services such as YouTube, search, Gmail, and Google+.