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Google has released its policies for its “internet for four eyes” project – Google Glass.
It appears that Google does not really want third-party developers to have much success with the project.
Google, which relies on advertising for some 95 percent of its revenue, doesn’t want ads on the eyewear, which limits the way that developers might make cash from their code.
The blanket prohibition came in the fine print of a policy which says “Glassware” developers may not “serve or include any advertisements” and they “may not charge” users to download apps for the device.
If Google wants its terms and conditions taken literally, it means that anyone who works for the Google Glass project will have to work for free, while the search engine rakes in all the money.
With those terms and conditions it means that Google does not really want third party developers working on the project. Although it might have a few who will do the work to see how the technology works, most commercial developers will be telling Google to go forth and multiply.
Writing in her blog, Google developer programs engineer Jenny Murphy said that the API documentation and a bunch of example code for Glass is out so “you can start dreaming with us”.
This is a different stance to that taken by Apple, Microsoft, BlackBerry, and even Android which have been encouraging native code that tends to be faster and more flexible. It seems that Google believes that it needs a lot of control over the early stages of the project’s evolution.
Looking at the API documentation, Google says that the brains behind Glassware will reside on third party servers and communicate with the eyewear through encrypted links.
This aims to reduce the likelihood of crashes, malware, and unexpected battery drain from buggy software.
It does limit developers’ ability to take full advantage of Glass. Google is also refusing to let developers make apps involving voice input which more or less defeats the whole point of the Glass system.
Hardware features like real-time image recognition that would lead to augmented reality applications are also not available.
Google also revealed the specs of the specs. It looks like it will have a five megapixel camera, a bone conduction transducer for audio, Bluetooth, WiFi, and 12 GB of usable memory.