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Google Glass won’t feature ads April 30, 2013


It’s a mind-blowing prospect already – computer glasses. But one reassuring piece of news recently broke regarding Google Glass: they won’t have advertising. At least not to begin with.

Google’s goggles are slated to hit the market in 2014, and in anticipation the company recently released its guidelines for app designers. As expected, the computer specs are set to host a dazzling – read: terrifying – array of functions. These include maps, cameras and video recording which will be activated with voice commands or potentially the blink of an eye, as well as real-time translations, X-ray vision, and pretty much every concept out of science fiction ever.

OK, those last two were a joke. But the one outstanding feature so far is notable for its absence; since the decision not to allow advertising effectively bans the thing that makes Google most of its money. So the developers currently working on apps for next year’s launch won’t be able to monetise their designs by pasting sponsored messages across the wearer’s field of vision. Alas, there will be no pop-ups alerting us to the nearest fast food chain when Glass detects our stomachs rumbling, or environmental charities’ logos programmed to jump out of trees.

It may well turn out to be the right choice by Google – commercially as well as ethically. Not only does the boundary-pushing technology come laden with enough ethical implications to fill another ten series of Black Mirror; there is a world of difference between having advertising on a screen you can look away from and a piece of technology that’s attached to your face. In a society where some workers may be compelled to wear Google Glass to do their jobs – just think of all the people who currently have company phones – it seems sensible to begin with a blanket ban.

Sometimes it’s good to be able to look away, and the best ad campaigns are the ones that people choose to engage with. To find out more about devising an engaging, non-invasive marketing strategy, have a look at some of our solutions.

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