Las Vegas businesses eye banning Google Glass
UPDATED: Friday, May 17, 2013 - 8:57am
Las Vegas, NV (KVVU) -- They aren't your father's spectacles. Google is revolutionizing eyewear with its latest internet-connected invention, Google Glass.
It's kind of like a hands-free smartphone that can display text messages, directions and much more.
Sounds fun, but if you think you can wear them just anywhere in Las Vegas, think again.
The glasses, which respond to voice commands, are equipped with a tiny camera and screen. They do just about anything a smartphone can do and much more.
Several Las Vegas-area casinos, nightclubs and entertainment venues are working to keep the glasses out.
While so far only a few thousand people are testing the device, Google Glass could one day be as ubiquitous as the iPhone. When turned on, the glasses aren't terribly noticeable, allowing users to take pictures, stream videos and communicate with others with the blink of an eye.
"That's the nice thing about it – you can literally walk around and take snapshot pictures," said Mark Bennett with Check Point Software Technologies.
"That's beautiful for me if I'm a cheat, because now I can sit and watch as all the cards come out on the game, and I can run this into a computer, and I can start tracking the shuffle of a blackjack game," said Jim Hartley, casino security surveillance expert.
Caesars Palace has already moved on the glasses, banning them from its casino floor. MGM Resorts International may follow suit. It released a statement to FOX5, which reads in part:
"For years, guests have been bringing tiny cameras into our resorts. It has been our policy that no unauthorized photography or videography is allowed in our casinos. If a security officer suspects that a guest is filming, they will ask the guest to turn their device off."
Hartley said casinos will face a challenge enforcing a ban on Google Glass.
"As these devices become more and more widespread, it's going to be more difficult for us to tell who are the good and bad guys," he said.
It's not just casinos where Google Glass will be forbidden. Many Vegas shows are banning them as well. Cirque du Soliel issued this statement to FOX5:
"Our formal show policy stands. No filming or photography is permitted during a live performance."
Currently, many movie theaters and concert venues ban video and audio recordings. Google Glass could soon be banned as well.
While Las Vegas' adult entertainment industry thrives on exposure, owners would like what happens inside clubs to stay there.
"A gentlemen's club – it's really important that people have privacy," said Peter Feinstein with Sapphire Gentlemen's Club.
The Sapphire will not allow customers to wear Google Glass inside. Instead, the club will insist they be checked at the door.
"Our policy would be if they refuse to take the glasses off, then we would be happy to give them a free ride in a limousine to their hotel," Feinstein said.
It's not just businesses where Google Glass could be banned. You might not be able to wear those glasses at the office either.
"Imagine you're sitting there at your keyboard, and I'm basically shoulder-surfing you, and I'm literally recording everything you're doing," Bennett said.
Bennett said Google Glass is the perfect tool for corporate espionage.
"You don't want people walking around with their smartphones, taking pictures. You don't want them walking around with glasses on that you may not know [are Google Glass]," he said.
Many of these issues, of course, exist with current smartphones. Google Glass is pretty obvious now, but future generations might not be.
Still, while Google Glass is not welcome everywhere, that could change. Cell phones were once banned from casinos, but that's no longer the case.
Like most new technology, Google Glass is not cheap. The current price tag is about $1,500. Google originally said it would make Google Glass widely available in 2014. However, other reports indicate it could be on store shelves by Christmas.