News Column

Porno a No-no for Google Glass

June 5, 2013

Kevin Smith

Google Glass users who were hoping to access pornography on the company's new futuristic eyewear are going to be sorely disappointed.

Google abruptly banned sexually explicit material on the computerized devices Monday, just hours after the first porn app for Google Glass was announced. The app was released by MiKandi, a Seattle-based company that has an Android store for adult apps.

"Our policies make it clear that Glass does not allow Glassware content that contains nudity, graphic sexual acts, or sexually explicit material," Google said in a statement issued to Fox News. "Any Glassware that violates this policy will be blocked from appearing on Glass."

MiKandi CEO Jesse Adams said Google's revamped policy wasn't in place when his company began developing the app two weeks ago. And the work, he said, was done at breakneck speed.

"We had a few all-nighters ... and it wasn't easy," Adams said. "We were really excited to get this out and we were checking the Google agreement every day to make sure we were still OK. We knew this app would cause a lot of attention so we wanted to make it fun."

The app went live a few days ago. Customers who downloaded the original app can still access that material, Adams said, although it will eventually be pushed out by new content. MiKandi is currently creating a toned-down version of the original app to comply with Google's revised guidelines.

But finding the right balance? That can be a little tricky.

"The keyword is sexually explicit," Adams said. "We have to use some common sense on this, so we're just trying to create something people will have fun with. We really want to put the sharing features in there so people can create and share content with each other."

Adams envisions couples sending flirting videos or messages to each other throughout the day -- a kind of virtual foreplay.

Diane Duke, executive director of the Free Speech Coalition, a Canoga Park-based trade association for the adult entertainment industry, isn't happy with Google's decision to revamp its policy.

"It is always unfortunate when free expression is limited," Duke said via email on Tuesday. "Ironically, it is the adult industry that has been instrumental in advancing technology and early adoption. Often, new technology brings with it a fear of the unknown. It is through fear-mongering and knee-jerk reactions like the Goggle decision that censorship continues to flourish."

Others have expressed privacy concerns about Google Glass since the device can instantly record without others knowing it. If someone who was wearing the glasses walked into a restroom, locker room or private meeting, for example, some might feel uncomfortable and ask the user to remove them.

Google is promoting the eyewear as a hands-free way of capturing everything from spontaneous moments at your child's soccer game or ballet recital, to getting virtual directions while on the go, as well as instant information regarding airline delays. Google Glass can also translate the user's voice into another language.

"I think this is part of the next revolution," said Micheal Macho, division president for BIS Computer Solutions, a La Crescenta company that develops mobile apps. "We're going to see things go from laptops to tablets, to smartphones and now ... to Google Glass."

Macho said Google Glass will immediately appeal to techies and gamers. But he's not so sure about others.

"I'm not sure if you'll get some of the dads and the soccer moms to get these glasses and use them," he said. "It will be interesting to see what people who aren't so tech-oriented think. But our team has been talking about developing some apps for it."

kevin.smith@sgvn.com

@SGVNBiz on Twitter

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