Google Glass: Fees, ads and virtual currency are banned from Explorer Edition

Under Google's current terms and conditions, Google Glass is for developers' inspiration and not for making money - yet.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Developers hoping to monetise their 'Glassware' for Google Glass will have to wait for the networked specs' terms of service to change.

Google is keeping a tight rein on Glass developers with a clear list of do's and don'ts for the product's Explorer Edition. The rules are outlined in the Google Mirror API terms of service released on Tuesday.

In-app advertising might be a common way to monetise products in the smartphone software industry, but on Glass it's a no-no. Under the Glass terms and conditions, developers are also forbidden from collecting user data from an Mirror API client and selling or transmitting that via third-party ad-networks and data brokers.

Also see: 10 things about Google Glass: Could this be Google's iPad?

Unlike Android, there will be no unofficial stores for Glass apps. Glassware can only be distributed through Google's as yet unnamed Google-hosted Mirror API Client distribution channel. Google does reserve the right to make an exception at some point, however.

Google has also outlawed collecting payments and fees of any kind to use and access Glassware, including virtual currencies - a sanction that applies to users as well as developers.

Developers are free to build gambling Glassware, for example, and may offer simulated winnings, but users should not be able to convert these outside the application to a transferable virtual good, virtual currency, or money.

The revenue models suited to smartphones would no doubt compromise Google's ambition for Glassware to be inspirational, clean and non-intrusive experience, as it describes in the Mirror API overview for developers — it's encouraging apps that don't have too frequent or loud notifications, for example. The experience it wants, as it has outlined previously, are for developers to design specifically Glass rather than adapting existing apps to the new form factor.

And, of course, it's early days yet for Glass, and terms and conditions for the product could well be updated in the future. A Google product without advertising? It doesn't bear thinking about.

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