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article imageOp-Ed: Google Glass goes all corporate and staggeringly stupid

By Paul Wallis     Apr 20, 2013 in Technology
Sydney - Google used to be sharp and fun when they were a startup. Now the corporate castrati have obviously got control. The latest missive from Google says “don’t resell”, and “don’t lend” Google Glass.
The sheer naiveté of this is almost unbelievable, until you remember that this is how DRM got started, too.
Wired obviously isn’t too pleased. A couple of their writers have done a scathing piece called “Google Is Forbidding Users From Reselling, Loaning Glass Eyewear".
After quoting the basic terms of service for Google Glass, which say exactly that, they go on:
…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.”
Welcome to the New World, one in which companies are retaining control of their products even after consumers purchase them.
It was bound to happen. Strange as it may sound, you don’t actually own much of the software you buy today. You essentially rent it under strict end-user agreements that have withstood judicial scrutiny. Google appears to be among the first to apply such draconian rules to consumer electronics.
The brilliance goes on, according to Forbes:
The early users, who Google has dubbed “Glass Explorers” (and who the rest of the world has dubbed “Glassholes“) are developers who want to create apps for the product and winners of an #IfIHadGlass contest that the company ran on Twitter and Plus. They all have to pay $1500 for the product and for the opportunity to tell Google what’s wrong with it. (Hint as to one of the problems: Friends of mine recently ran into a Googler wearing Glass while hiking; he answered many of their questions about the product, except one: “How’s the battery life?” “I’m not allowed to answer that,” he responded.)
Well, cute. Also absolutely pointless. Re-engineering something designed to work with the Internet can be done using non-patent phone technology, video technology and maybe really high capacity noodles. Any new tech which gets put on the market gets pulled apart and analyzed within 24 hours of commercial release or even just by people looking at it.
People know that. Chickens know that. Complacent ignoramuses know that, but not the corporate guys, apparently. This issue became news when an eBay auction of Google Glass got pulled for fear of reprisals from Google.
This does have judicial backing, as Wired says, and the law is clear. The trouble is that law applies to straight sales terms. It doesn’t apply to patent-eroding practices, which Google should be worrying about a lot more than a few mercenary consumers flogging Google Glass.
Suggestion, Google- Lose the corporate losers and go back to real market instinct, which put you where you are.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about google glass, terms of sale, Drm, tech product analysis, Wired
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