If you were one of the lucky handful magnanimously selected by Google to purchase one of its $1,500 Glass prototypes, we have some news for you: The monocle of #TheFuture will have some curiously draconian restrictions attached to it.
Per the search king's terms of sale: "Google reserves the right to deactivate the device" if the owner sells the headset or loans Glass to a friend. "Unless otherwise authorized by Google, you may only purchase one Device, and you may not resell, loan, transfer or give your Device to another person." If these restrictions aren't followed, "neither you nor the unauthorized person using the Device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty."
Ars Technica notes that these provisions are specific to the Glass Explorer pilot, which is meant to fuel developer support. Google declined to elaborate if a "similar restriction will be placed on Glass when it becomes generally available" for consumer purchase. (NBC News says that you may be able to give the device as a gift once it's commercially sold.)
"Welcome to the New World," says Wired, "one in which companies are retaining control of their products even after consumers purchase them."
Why exercise such a tight grip over how buyers use Glass? It may be because each Glass headset will be tied to a single Google account from the very beginning. A device that constantly changes hands will understandably make it harder for Google to pinpoint specific problems.
And while the company's terms of sale might not mean much to 99 percent of the population, it may mean a lot to one Philadelphia man who was plucked to be part of the Glass Explorer preorder. According to Wired, "Ed" (last name withheld) reluctantly took down his eBay listing for Glass a few days ago after he learned about Google's restrictions:
"People were acting like I had did something sacrilegious," he said. Once Ed learned of the terms of service, he ended the auction — which began at $5,000 and ballooned to more than $90,000. No one from Google or eBay had contacted him about the auction, he said. He still wants his Google Glass Explorer headset and hopes that Google doesn't hold it against him for trying to sell the device. "I'm willing to fork up the $1,500 for it." [Wired]
With any luck, Ed will still get his chance to take the device for a spin, because if these first few Glass recordings are any indication, Google's upgrade of the bluetooth headset will truly be can't-miss stuff:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- Russia is stealthily threatening America with nuclear war
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- 13 Urban Outfitters controversies
- The impossible promise at the heart of Scotland's campaign for independence
- Mike Huckabee's head-scratching advice to Christian voters
- The Obama administration's nonstop incoherence on ISIS
Subscribe to the Week