Google Glass began shipping to a select few this past Tuesday. Those who have the glasses have been using them for a couple of days, and, presumably, passing the glasses around for friends to try out. Today, Google has posted a clear warning on the company's website.
This warning states that Google Glass owners are not permitted to lend, sell, transfer, or give the glasses to anyone else. So, you'll have to think twice before you let your friend borrow your new glass for a few hours. Anyone who violates Google's clause will have glass privileges revoked. In short, Google will deactivate glasses that have been lent or sold.
Is This Fair?
A lot of people have been on the Google Glass waiting list for many months. Now that Google has started shipping the glasses to some of those people, the company is getting a bit nervous. Someone posted a pair of the glasses on Ebay with the starting bid of $1500 (the price of Google Glass), and that bid went all the way to $16,000 before Ebay shut it down.
What grounds did Ebay have for shutting down the auction? The auction site cited something about the seller violating pre-sale policies, or some nonsense. But, the fact is that people are purchasing Google Glass. They are buying it. They own it.
Still, Google has laid down the law. Is this a fair statement for Google to be making? Can the company actually tell people who own Google Glass not to sell it or loan it to a friend?
How Glass Owners Are Reacting
It's tough for anyone to argue with the decree that Google has posted. Some wonder if that one Ebay seller will try to fight the Ebay shutdown. It seems silly that Google would try and instill such terms on Glass owners, but, on the other hand, these are expensive devices that Google wants to sell.
If current owners lend or re-sell Glass, Google is losing out on quite a few dollars. At $1500 a pop, Google Glass isn't exactly cheap. On the flip side, lending Glass to a friend will help spread the word about Google's latest invention. That friend, in turn, might decide to purchase a pair. That's marketing at its best, and Google may be foolish to put a stop to it.
The Official Decree
Just in case you're wondering what Google's official stance is, here's the text from Google's decree:
"You may not resell, loan, transfer or give your Device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer or give your device to any other person without Google's authorization, 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."
Note that this is a 'terms of sale' agreement, which means that buyers should have read this agreement prior to purchasing Google Glass. In other words, Google has the right to tell Glass owners what to do with their new device. It's all in the small print.