Google bans porn on Glass to nix the 'ick factor'

Google also sets up policies forbidding violence, bullying, gambling and spreading malware

Early Monday, a developer announced the release of the first porn app for Google Glass only to learn that Google had banned porn apps for its computerized eyeglasses.

MiKandi, an adult app store, created a piece of Glassware that enables users to share racy content from their devices with other Glass users and online.

MiKandi hit a stumbling block, though, when Google late last week added a list of new developer policies.

"When we received our Glass and started developing our app two weeks ago, we went through the policy very carefully to make sure we were developing the app within the terms," wrote Jesse Adams, CEO of MiKandi, in a blog post. "Although the app is still live and people are using it, at this point we must make changes to the app in order to comply with the new policies."

Google's 11 new policies ban sexually explicit material, which also includes nudity and graphic sex acts.

"Our Explorer Program makes users active participants in evolving Glass ahead of a wider consumer launch," said a Google spokesman. "In keeping with this approach, we've updated our developer policies. We look forward to learning more from our users as we update the software and evolve our policies in the weeks and months ahead."

The company's policies also exclude apps that depict "gratuitous violence" or any material that threatens or bullies other users. They also ban hate speech, online gambling, impersonating others and transmitting malware.

The policy additions come as Google announced that it won't add facial recognition software to Glass until privacy protections are in place.

Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, said Google wants to lessen as much of the "creepy" factor associated with computerized eyeglasses that can surreptitiously take photos or video of unsuspecting people.

There's already been enough online talk about privacy concerns surrounding Glass, he added. Google is trying to minimize any other public relations issues with it.

"I think this shows that Google is paying attention to the 'ick' factor," Gottheil said. "If users are using Glass to watch porn beside them on a plane, what would people think of Glass and the people using it then? Glass already seems creepy, and the privacy issues are real."

Google, he added, simply is acting to reduce any grief or bad PR.

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said if Glass gets a reputation as a new high-tech medium for porn, it could damage Glass's image - and Google's as well.

"It looks like Google is trying to keep it clean with Glass," he said. "I think the negative publicity that comes with it being a conduit for porn could overshadow any positive. This way, Google assures that won't be the case."

By keeping it clean, Google wants to avoid complaints from the public, Kerravala added.

"The porn industry is very inventive, often the early movers in any market," he added. "It was the first to use real-time video, the first to take credit cards over the Web. But there should be enough value in Glass that [Google] doesn't need porn to drive appeal."

This article, Google bans porn on Glass to nix the 'ick factor', was originally published at Computerworld.com.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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