Don’t imagine that paying $1500 for your ‘Explorer Edition’ prototype Google Glass makes you the legal owner: Wired dug into the terms of service to find that Google is effectively treating the limited edition gadget like a piece of software:
You may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty.
We’re assuming this is because the Explorer Edition is specifically aimed at developers and influencers, but that’s still a rather surprising condition to find in a hardware device.
The question of whether we own the stuff we buy has gotten increasingly uncertain. While the story that Bruce Willis was challenging Apple to allow him to pass on his iTunes content to his heirs turned out not to be true, it did provoke debate about how much of our digital content we actually own. In this latest twist, it appears that uncertainty can extend to hardware too.