Google Glass gets all-clear by London Theatres, but with further discussions expected

Following a ban by the Vue cinema chain, Google Glass has been given an easier time by the owner of 12 theatres in London’s West End, which says customers may wear Glass if it is fitted with prescription lenses.

Speaking to Mobile Choice, a spokesperson for Ambassador Theatre Group confirmed that “if a visually impaired customer was using Google Glass to aid their sight, then we certainly wouldn’t be requesting that they turn off the device...our policy is that everyone has the right to access live theatre.”

London theatres operated by ATG include the Apollo, Savoy, Playhouse, Piccadilly, and Trafalgar Studios.

Although Google only offers frames with clear or tinted lenses, it is possible to fit prescription lenses to the device, forgoing the need to carry a pair a conventional glasses. While it isn’t clear if Vue’s stance makes an exception in this scenario, the rules for both cinema and theatre and murky at the very least.

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The cinema group said customers must treat Glass as they would a mobile phone, and also remove the eyewear “as soon as the lights dim.”

Phil Clapp, chief executive of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association, said: "Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not."

'Definitely something to discuss further'

Despite being on sale in the US for more than a year, Google Glass has only been available in the UK for a matter of days, having launched at a pop-up store in London last weekend, priced at £1,000. Being so new and unlike anything else on the market, the reception towards Glass is currently one of caution.

The ATG spokesperson added: “The issue of Google glasses has not yet been raised by ATG producers or third party producers, but this is definitely something we will raise with the theatre community and discuss further...we will look to develop an operational policy over forthcoming months.”

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When asked if a customer could wear Glass after demonstrating that its camera is switched off, the spokesperson said: “Obviously we recognise that we have an obligation to safeguard the copyright of our producer's productions and the privacy of other audience members and we would therefore need to satisfy ourselves that the device is inactive.”

Mobile Choice has contacted Vue for an explanation of its ban and will update this story when we hear back.


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