Will Banning Explicit Apps Hurt Google Inc (GOOG) Glass?

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Standing atop its throne as the virtually unchallenged King of Search since 2002, arguably no company knows better than Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) the fact the Internet serves to harbor plenty of content some folks deem… well… less-than-wholesome.

The tiny, explicit picture
That’s why nobody was particularly surprised last week when adult app specialist MiKandi released the first X-rated app for Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) Glass. The app allowed users to view and share pornographic material through their Google Glass interface.

Google Inc (GOOG)

As it turns out, however, MiKandi’s first explicit Glass app may be also be the last after Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) swiftly revised its Glass Platform Developer Policies to forbid the inclusion of sexually explicit material. The terms also describe Google’s “zero-tolerance policy against child pornography,” at the same time forbidding gratuitous violence, hate speech, and online gambling.

The folks at MiKandi, for their part, claimed they were careful to stay within the bounds of Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s policies when they started developing the app just a few weeks ago. Now, with the rules changed and the application effectively neutralized, the company has promised its users they should see updates to the app soon which will allow it to comply with Google’s new terms.

The bigger picture
Of course, Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) plainly states at the bottom of the terms page the “policies may be revised from time to time without notice,” so it’s well within its right to do so — even if it means stepping on some toes along the way.

But why, exactly, did Google wait to revise its Glass developer policies to ban explicit content until the first notable X-rated app had begun to gain traction? After all, while MiKandi certainly released the app quickly, it doesn’t seem a very Google-esque move to miss an omission in the developers’ terms by accident.

Then again, if one thing is clear with Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)’s move, it’s that the company is trying to garner as much public support for its groundbreaking product prior to the commercial release, which chairman Eric Schmidt recently estimated is still “probably a year-ish” away.

To be sure, Google Glass has already faced more than its fair share of scrutiny, including disparaging comments made just a few weeks ago by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) CEO Tim Cook when he asserted, “I think it’s probably more likely to appeal to certain vertical markets, and I think the likelihood it has broad-range appeal … that’s tough to see.”

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