Google Glass is facing further bans in the UK ahead of the upcoming commercial launch of its augmented reality eyewear.
Although the technology has been available in the US as a prototype for a couple of years, the test version of the device was only brought out in the UK last week as an extention of Google’s Glass Explorer programme.
The Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, which represents the interests of around 90 per cent of UK cinema operators, said it was introducing a blanket ban.
The ban follows similar moves in the US, where the independent Drafthouse chain said last month that it was banning Google Glass over piracy fears.
“Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not,” said Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association, which represents about 90 percent of UK cinema operators.
“We don’t allow any wearable technology that is pointed at the screen and is able to record in theaters,” AMC Theaters told the International Business Times. “While we’re huge fans of technology and innovation, wearing a device that has the capability to record video is not appropriate at the movie theater,” the company said.
VUE cinemas – part of the Cinema Exhibitors’ Association – also said that it would be asking customers to remove their devices “as soon as the lights dim,” reported the Independent.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group – which is responsible for the running of six London theatre venues – said it would “evaluate the implications, especially with regard to the effect on the cast, creative team and members of the public.”
A Google spokesperson said: “We recommend any cinemas concerned about Glass to treat the device as they treat similar devices like mobile phones: simply ask wearers to turn it off before the film starts. Broadly speaking, we also think it’s best to have direct and first-hand experience with Glass before creating policies around it. The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated makes it a fairly lousy device for recording things secretly.”
Google has issued guidelines on the usage of Glass. Instructions include “[Don’t] be creepy or rude”(also known as a ‘Glasshole’) and “Don’t read War and Peace on Glass,” because it wasn’t intended for long periods of use.