Google Caves to Privacy Concerns, Wipes Glass of Facial Recognition Features

Put away the pitchforks, privacy advocates, or at least take a break from sharpening the tips. Google has heard your cries loud and clear in regards to its Glass project and has decided that, for the time being, it will not include facial recognition technologies. So sayeth the Glass team on the project's Google+ account.

"When we started the Explorer Program nearly a year ago our goal was simple: we wanted to make people active participants in shaping the future of this technology ahead of a broader consumer launch. We've been listening closely to you, and many have expressed both interest and concern around the possibilities of facial recognition in Glass," the Glass team stated. "As Google has said for several years, we won’t add facial recognition features to our products without having strong privacy protections in place. With that in mind, we won’t be approving any facial recognition Glassware at this time.

"We’ve learned a lot from you in just a few weeks and we’ll continue to learn more as we update the software and evolve our policies in the weeks and months ahead."

Google Glass
Image Source: Flickr (tedeytan)

Google left the door open to adding facial recognition technologies in the future, but only after it's comfortable with whatever privacy protections it decides to bake in. Until then, the lack of such a feature should at least partially placate privacy advocates, though there's still the issue of being recorded without consent, especially in locales such as public restrooms.