Google Glass has had some ups and downs while they’ve been in the beta stages. Due to the very long, and very public testing phases of Glass, many have been concerned about when Glass will be released commercially. We may be very close to that day though, or at least some changes to the Terms of Sale (TOS) made by Google suggest the very same.
Just a couple of days before Google’s annual developers conference, was the last time we saw any changes to the TOS. Then Google announced they had a 2GB RAM version of Glass. The TOS have been changed once more, as of August 19th, and the new language is very small, but enough to suggest that sales are just around the corner. Some of the areas changed in the new TOS cover “Prices and Taxes”, “Device Features Outside of Google’s Control” and “Beta Product”.
According to the new TOS, the section that covers beta information. In this section, those who owned beta devices, also known as “Explorers”, could find the following information: “Glass is in beta, and your testing and feedback are an important part of the Explorer program.By participating, you acknowledge that implementation of some Glass features and services are still under development and that you should not rely on the device, software, or Glass services having full functionality of a consumer release.” Now, that entire section is gone, there’s no more beta section to the TOS. This is one of the biggest signs of the release date closing in that the new TOS has to offer. In fact, the word “beta” is nowhere to be found anywhere in the new TOS. Though there are more interesting changes that add to the belief, like the new “Prices and Taxes” section of the TOS.
The new “Prices and Taxes” section is similar to the old one, however some wording has been changed even though it essentially is saying the same thing. These changes were more than likely made for legal reasons that accompany a commercial release of the product. Though there are now two paragraphs that cover some aspects that were never mentioned before. Google acknowledges the possibility of price changes, credits, and promotional offers. “Should Google reduce its price on any Device within 30 days from the date you order it, you must contact Glass Support within 30 days of the price change to request a refund or credit for the difference between the price you were charged and the reduced price.” The second paragraph that has been added continues to cover the possibility of promotional pricing. “Google may also provide promotional offers or prices related to the sale of Devices. If so, any terms applicable to such promotional offers or prices will control in the event of a conflict with these Terms.” This could be the first time that Google has mentioned anything about price reductions on Glass, and how to work around them. Instead, the price has been steady at $1500 for explorers to get their hands on Glass devices. Google turning the idea into legal terms, doesn’t mean that the price will for sure be reduced at time of launch. Instead, it just covers the idea of possible sales and promotions as well as a possible price reduction. The last addition to the new TOS covers some information in regards to cellular features.
It’s not uncommon knowledge that Google Glass currently doesn’t offer any cellular features. Meaning in order to use Glass to it’s full potential, they must be tethered to a smartphone via Bluetooth. However, the new language suggests that Google may decide to sell Glass through wireless carriers in the future. Google’s new language uses the word “Device” plenty of times in this new section, when they do, they are referring to Glass. “If your Device requires a SIM card, or any other mobile connectivity feature required by your Wireless Carrier or Internet Service Provider, you are solely responsible for obtaining such connectivity feature(s). If your Device includes WiFi functionality that allows you to access the Internet, you understand that you will need access to an 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi access point.” The next paragraph speaks to the services that may be possible through a wireless carrier. “You agree that, unless specifically provided in any Device description page, Google has no responsibility for the provision of cellular data services, wireless services, or the terms under which Wireless Carriers or Internet Service Providers may offer those services. Internet Service Providers and Wireless Carriers may charge you for usage and other fees that Google does not control.”
While these changes may suggest the commercial release of Google Glass is nearing, they don’t ensure that release. Instead, the changes only show that Google is working on that release. In May of 2014, Sergey Brin said he had his doubts that Glass would release in 2014. Though we’re in the last half of 2014, and 2015 is just around the corner. It’s more likely that we will see Glass on store shelves (or internet shelves) to purchase in the first half of 2015.