By Prescription Only: Google Will Brick Glasses If You Loan Them Out

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News Posted: Wed, Apr 17 2013 9:24 PM
Earlier this week, Google released spec sheets for its augmented reality Google Glass spectacles and updated its developer contracts to emphasize that no third party advertising is permitted. Today, apparently, the other shoe drops. The company's Terms of Service state that Google Glass users are not allowed to loan, transfer, or give the device to any other person. The full text reads:
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.
That's right. You are not allowed to loan Google Glass to a friend. You can't hand them to someone to test with their own Google account. You can't put them in a "Trial Mode" or resell them when you've decided to upgrade. If you feel like they were a poor investment, you can't attempt to resell them on eBay to recoup your loss.

Why You Should Care:

All too often, people respond to such fundamental restrictions by saying "It's just the EULA." But in this case, since Google Glass is tied to, and registered to a specific Google account (and you're required to open a Google Account to use Google Glass), the company knows exactly who has Glass and who doesn't. Yes, it's just the EULA -- but in this case, the EULA allows Google to deactivate a device you paid them $1500 to use.



This might seem like overreach, but it isn't. Google and other software companies aggressively lobbied courts to rule in 2010 that licensing language governed the right of resale. Federal regulators reviewing the DMCA's cell phone unlocking provision in 2012 ultimately removed the requirement that phones be able to be unlocked because they felt the 2010 Autodesk case had set precedent. If you agree to Google's terms, Google has the right to control your usage of the product in any way that it sees fit.

The other argument is that this type of restriction is only present because Google Glass is in its first-run deployment. Once the product goes into wide production, Google would surely lift such restrictions -- right?

Maybe. But if that's the case, it wouldn't hurt the company to say so. A simple one-line insertion into the relevant paragraph could stipulate that the rules were being tightened for the early deployment period. Wanting to ensure that all 1500 pairs of Google Glass go to good users is perfectly reasonable, and blocking eBay sales or third-party transactions makes sense in this context. But writing such stipulations into the general contract for users, without identifying them as special cases? That's a dangerous precedent.

Worse, it goes against everything that makes tech exciting. Granted, I wouldn't want to loan a $1500 pair of glasses to someone on an indefinite basis, but most people are going to want to see what Google Glass would show them using their own data. This type of restriction makes it nearly impossible to hand the device to a friend and offer them the chance to experiment with it, unless you first lock down your own private data.

There's a limited window to clarify the situation and guarantee that once the final product ships, end users will be able to resell the devices. Google, are you listening?
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sevags replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 10:20 AM

Wow that better change and fast. I would never buy any product with such heavy restrictions. I hope it is just to curb the resale on glass on eBay like many people try and do when a new gaming console is released hoping to get many times what they paid for the product. This doesn't explain why you can't loan it out or let someone try it out in front of you hike on their own account. Imagine is these same rules exists for android phone no one would by them.

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Clixxer replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 1:22 PM

I'm sure Google has their reasons why and I'm sure they will let the world know in due time. I see it as being they want the same person using them to get used to them or something along those lines. Id think that after they get bugs worked out, tweeks, and other things and get more into circulation that those restrictions would be lifted. 

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sevags replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 2:41 PM

Clixxer; it doesn't matter what they think their reasons are it's wrong. Imagine if game developers said you couldn't sell your copy of a game, loan it to a friend, or even play it on someone else's console/computer until you've reached a certain save point or until you've completed the game at least once? Or can't sell your kindle fire until you've read a certain amount of books first... I could keep going.

I remember when the ps3, Xbox 360, and wii came out forums like anandtech etc forbid the posting of the consoles for months but it wasn't the manufacturers who forced them to. Google is just wrong here no matter how you see it and these restrictions better be lifted once they start producting more than just the 1500 units...

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Clixxer replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 6:17 PM

sevags:

Clixxer; it doesn't matter what they think their reasons are it's wrong. Imagine if game developers said you couldn't sell your copy of a game, loan it to a friend, or even play it on someone else's console/computer until you've reached a certain save point or until you've completed the game at least once? Or can't sell your kindle fire until you've read a certain amount of books first... I could keep going.

They do that already sorta. Its called the "online pass" that alot of the big games have started heavily last year. So once a game is activated and you sell it you gotta buy their $10 pass to play online. Sounds like they are trying to keep you from selling your game or atleast get people to stop buying 2nd hand.

I remember when the ps3, Xbox 360, and wii came out forums like anandtech etc forbid the posting of the consoles for months but it wasn't the manufacturers who forced them to. Google is just wrong here no matter how you see it and these restrictions better be lifted once they start producting more than just the 1500 units...

Who cares though? Google has their reasons and they aren't forcing you to buy it. Apple tells people not to jailbreak their devices and actively tries to make it impossible. I agree that the restrictions should be lifted once it goes into full production, which I assume they would but for the first batch that if you are willing to fork over $1500 for it then you can follow their rules or simply don't buy it.

 

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sevags replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 6:59 PM

That isn't the same thing you would still be able to share the game with someone and it doesn't at all keep you from selling the game it just costs the buyer more $ to activate the online portion. Still not a good thing but not as bad as having the game bricked like google is trying to do.

Who cares though? Well that's a weird attitude because frankly I very seriously care, and I imagine a huge majority of people will care which is why this article was written in the first place if no one cared the topic wouldn't be covered. It's not about being forced its about a company telling you what you can and can't do with your product. So if I buy it and don't use it or don't like it or whatever I am forced to own a $1500 paperweight because.... Why? Apple telling people not to jailbreak their phones isn't a good thing either but at least it makes a lot more sense since jailbreaking allows people to pirate software and do other illegal things their phone wasn't capable of before but imagine if apple said you couldn't resell your iPhone or even let a family member have it or borrow it! Every time an iPhone comes out I either sell mine to help pay for the new one or hand it down to my sister neither of which would be allowed by these google rules.

The point is once you've paid for a product from cars to phones it's yours to do with whatever you like within the law and the law says you can resell. I bet you someone out there is already preparing a class action lawsuit against google for this and I wouldn't be surprised if it's one of the early Glass adopters.

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Ugh, I totally understand for software, but for hardware like this? You best be joking.

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Clixxer replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 8:25 PM

sevags:

That isn't the same thing you would still be able to share the game with someone and it doesn't at all keep you from selling the game it just costs the buyer more $ to activate the online portion. Still not a good thing but not as bad as having the game bricked like google is trying to do.

Who cares though? Well that's a weird attitude because frankly I very seriously care, and I imagine a huge majority of people will care which is why this article was written in the first place if no one cared the topic wouldn't be covered. It's not about being forced its about a company telling you what you can and can't do with your product. So if I buy it and don't use it or don't like it or whatever I am forced to own a $1500 paperweight because.... Why? Apple telling people not to jailbreak their phones isn't a good thing either but at least it makes a lot more sense since jailbreaking allows people to pirate software and do other illegal things their phone wasn't capable of before but imagine if apple said you couldn't resell your iPhone or even let a family member have it or borrow it! Every time an iPhone comes out I either sell mine to help pay for the new one or hand it down to my sister neither of which would be allowed by these google rules.

The point is once you've paid for a product from cars to phones it's yours to do with whatever you like within the law and the law says you can resell. I bet you someone out there is already preparing a class action lawsuit against google for this and I wouldn't be surprised if it's one of the early Glass adopters.

Seriously? Don't buy the effin product. I buy my games off steam and I can't share those or resell them but I don't complain that is how it is.

You have no idea what the idea is behind why Google is doing what they are doing. So once again who cares? If you got the cash to throw down $1500 on a potential paperweight then that is your issue and could be a consequence. Should Google offer something if the customer is dissatisfied in 30 days or something? Yeah they should just like any other store but if they tell you that if you buy these you cannot let anyone else use them then you live with it or don't. People complain about apple not letting people do what they want to their phones, yet they sell millions of them a year. Its definitely not the best situation and surprised me Google even did it but with their track record thus far they usually have a good reason for it other than just being dbags.

 

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sevags replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 9:49 PM

Clixxer you can go ahead and not care but the rest of the world does and no reason is a good reason. Buying digit copies of anything games software music etc you assume the risk buying an mp3 doesn't afford you the ability to resell it. This isn't digital downloads it's hardware. I care. And google will care too when fewer people want to purchase the product because of this and when they get sued for it. Sorry but you won't be convincing anyone with your skewed logic.

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Clixxer replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 11:01 PM

Dude you're skewed in thinking that is the only way Google plans to approach it. You're over here bitching because Google is telling you what you can and can't do with their product. You forget or just cant think of the excuse of this:

Do not buy it. Do not spend money on it. Do not do a thing with it. 

Once again ill reiterate for you is that Google has a reason for this. This isn't Steve "I got killed by PC" Jobs that refuses to let the user do anything. Did you even buy on of these? If not who gives a flip what Google wants to do with their product. In a capitalistic society we the consumers decide what is a success or not. If 1 million people deem that not being able to share or whatever but still want to buy them, then that's is their problem and not your if you do not want to spend the money. If 30k people only wanted these then im sure Google would move on or change them.

Simply If you don't like it then don't buy it.

I don't get your skewed logic that Google has to bow to your whim over a project you and I know VERY little about and over what is really a prototype they sold to the public. How the hell do you know that their isn't some device that they only developed or piece of software that when looking over who got the first 1500 they are afraid someone would try and steal from them?

No offense but you are ignorant if you think because Google does something some way its only to F the people.

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sevags replied on Fri, Apr 19 2013 10:23 AM

You still don't get it do you? You're wrong. The world is right. End of story.

I didn't forget the option to buy or not too bad I clearly am not as closed minded as you are. No one is forcing anyone to buy it and no one ever suggested that. But not buying it doesn't solve the problem :).

And once again I will reiterate that IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT GOOGLES REASON IS THERE IS NO REASON THAT CAN BE JUSTIFIED, ANY REASLN GOOGLE HAS IS A WRONG REASON.

Google has to bow down to my whim?? LMFAO since when is letting me let a friend use something I've purchased "bowing to my whim" hahahaha so every time someone uses your cellphone that company is bowing down to you? When I share my McDonald's fries with someone else McDonald's is bowing to my whim? It more sounds like your ignorance is causing you to bow down to companies whims because you're either too narrow minded to see that it's wrong or because you have no actual thought of your own.

I never claimed they are trying to "F" with anyone you still don't get that. I would actually be much more comfortable if google did admit that's what they are trying to do but no this is much worse they aren't trying to F with anyone this I really how they think they have to do business with the first 1500 units and regardless of the reason it's wrong. And again it's not just about it, if they don't change this ToS it rooms Glass to failure.

You have proven 1 thing though that no matter what reiduclous controlling rules companies come up with there will always be people like you out there who will now down lick crap off the floor and call it the cherry on top. Question your world sir don't just accept it and move on. Fight for what's wrong or you've lready lost.

I'm done with this subject it appears you'll never learn.

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Clixxer replied on Fri, Apr 19 2013 12:37 PM

No, you're still ignorant to the fact companies can do what they want with their products and if they want to doom Glass all to hell then so be it. Once again for your ignorant ears.

Google can be right for the right reason. Are you so pissed right now because you got an iPhone and have realized that it is becoming a second tier product to samsung hardware and google software? Obviously you don't care that Apple tells you what to do with your service. 

Really McDonald's fries and cellphones? You really want to bring up this argument. You can't unlock a cell phone technically legally except unless the carrier lets you. By that logic you should throw your phone away and never use that company? I bet you still use it though? Oh wait another valid point? Man its like I know stuff and you just know how to ***. Oh yeah and I bet you have AT&T or Verizon which mean you are "required" to get a data plan to use a smartphone. Technically now with AT&T you could share your data but you couldn't before. Once again that is a company telling you what to do that LACKS severely in the customer service department.

So look here kid, you want to bow out because your logic is fleeting and ignorance is bliss go right ahead. Just remember everything I have said when you look at your cellphone and realize that Google isn't the bad guy for something you did not buy and never will and that Google is 100x the company that Apple will ever be since if Tim Cook told you to buy this with the same stipulations then you wouldn't question nothing.

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