April 15, 2014 in Business

Google offering Glass for limited time

Michael Liedtke Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

In this combination of images made from the Google “Project Glass” video, the viewer looks through an early prototype of Google’s futuristic Internet-connected glasses.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

SAN FRANCISCO – A lot more people are about to get a chance to buy Google Glass, the Internet-connected eyewear that has become the hottest accessory in geek fashion.

Google will sell the “Explorer” version of Glass to any U.S. resident who places an online order for the device beginning at 9 a.m. PDT today. The product will cost $1,500.

The sale will take place at http://google.com/glass/start/how-to-get-one.

It marks the first time that Google has made Glass available to consumers without providing them special access. More than 10,000 sets of Glass have been sold to a select group of developers, contest winners and other invitees.

This version of Glass, though, still isn’t the polished product that Google hopes to release in stores later this year. Although it hasn’t provided specifics, Google has indicated that the mass-market version of Glass will sell for less than $1,500.

For now, Google is still trying to recruit more people willing to serve as guinea pigs for its attempt build a wearable device that features some of the same features as a smartphone. The Explorer program for Glass has been serving as Google’s test lab.

“Our Explorers are moms, bakers, surgeons, rockers, and each new Explorer has brought a new perspective that is making Glass better,” Google said Thursday on its Plus social networking service.

Glass looks like a pair of spectacles except the Explorer edition doesn’t contain any actual glass in the frame. Instead, the device has a thumbnail-sized screen attached above the right eye so a user can check email, see Twitter posts or get directions without having to grope for a phone.

It can also take hands-free photos and video through voice-activated commands. The ability to record images so easily – and perhaps secretly – has raised privacy and piracy concerns and has prompted some casinos, theaters and bars to ban the use of Glass on their property. Safety concerns have also been raised about drivers wearing Glass.

Glass is the most prominent example of wearable technology, devices that are expected to become more widespread over the next few years. There are already several smart watches on the market, and Google is working with accessory makers to release even more of those devices later this year. Apple Inc. is expected to unveil an “iWatch” later this year.

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