prince charles
Even Prince Charles would be forced to remove Google Glass if he visits a cinema in the UK after 90% of them banned the wearable headset. Getty

Within a week of Google Glass being launched in the UK, cinemas across the country have banned the wearable headset.

"Customers will be requested not to wear these into cinema auditoriums, whether the film is playing or not," Phil Clapp, CEO of the Cinema Exhibitors' Association (CEA) told the Independent. The CEA represents 90% of the UK's cinemas.

The ban comes about over fears that wearers of Google Glass could surreptitiously record what is being shown on screen - in a similar way that people use camcorders to illegally copy films today.

However, the five megapixel sensor on the Glass camera is only capable of recording 720p quality video and the fact the camera is head-mounted means that the resulting video would be of such poor quality that even people looking to download it illegally online would likely baulk at watching it.

Despite this, Vue says its employees will ask Glass wearers to remove the headset "as soon as the lights dim" while Odeon's policy extends to both employees and customers with both asked to "not wear Google Glasses [...] capable of recording images and video within the cinema auditorium."

Last week the Information Commissioners Office in the UK clarified that Glass should not be treated any differently from camcorders or smartphones which can also take pictures or capture video.


The actions here in the UK reflect what has already happened in the US over the last 12 months. One wearer was kicked out of an AMC cinema in January and questioned by law enforcement officials - an incident which led AMC to brand the wearing of Glass as "inappropriate" behaviour across its entire cinema chain.

Google Glass launched in the UK last week and is available to anyone over the age of 18 at a cost of £1,000. The Explorer edition - as Google calls the current model - is designed for developers mainly, with the company is expected to launch a more consumer-friendly model later this year at a much-reduced cost.

At the company's annual developer conference last week, Google failed to mention Glass once, and none of the presenters on stage wore the headset, leading some to question if the company still believed in the product.