'Years' before Google Glass arrives in Europe?

There's no European Explorer program on the agenda, but Google's Moonshot team is giving Europe's lawmakers a sneak peek.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer on

European law makers and privacy wonks may be breathing a sigh of relief this week after reports that Google Glass won't make its way to Europe for years.

Google is planning to launch its networked frames commercially in the US by 2014, but it looks as though that won't happen in Europe for some time yet.

According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google isn't planning to launch Glass in Europe for years, but nonetheless already begun laying the groundwork for a future release. (ZDNet has asked Google for confirmation and will update the story if it receives any.)

Six members of Google's Moonshot team landed in Brussels this week to show off Glass to media and law makers, highlighting the headset's capabilities and limitations, the paper reported. The group's are set to visit other destinations including France and Germany, the WSJ said.

Google's message, according to the report, was that the headset is not designed to take snapshots in public and then process images through facial recognition software (which has been banned on Glass for now); nor scroll through Facebook posts while talking to friends. It is however, Google says, meant to help find directions, take photos, make calls, search the internet, and post things on social media.

As Google rolled out its Explorer Program earlier this year to around 8,000 members of the public, its seemingly imminent full public release raised concerns in numerous quarters. Following an earlier attempt in the US to ban drivers from using Glass on the roads, the UK's Department of Transport asked police to ensure that people don't use it while driving. 

Europe is not alone in taking issue with the Google hardware. In June, Canada's privacy commissioner Jennifer Stoddart fired off a letter to Google CEO Larry Page demanding answers to privacy concerns she had with Google Glass. The letter was co-signed by Jacob Kohnstamm, chairman of Europe's Article 29 Working Party, on behalf of 24 EU countries, as well as privacy commissioners from Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. 

Editorial standards