October 29, 2013
Google Announces Glass Explorers Can Invite Three Friends
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
In an effort to boost user numbers in the lead up to the official public launch, Google is now letting the earliest of Glass adopters extend to three friends the invitation to join the elite club of Glass Explorers. Just like first Explorers, those 'invited' to this program will also have to buy the spectacles for $1,500. The first Glass Explorers will also be able to replace their early prototype unit with a newer version. These newer units are said to work with sunglasses and prescription glasses, and will ship with a new mono earbud.
Unlike the original 8,000 Glass Explorers, the new invitees will not be required to visit Google personally to have their units professionally set up. Earlier this year it was rumored Glass would be available to the public by the end of 2013. One rumor even held that Google would open their own Apple-style retail stores in which to sell their new devices. The launch date has since been pushed back to 2014.
“We’ve been experimenting with ways to expand the Explorer Program and it’s been going really well,” reads the announcement on the Glass Google+ page. “So over the next few weeks, all Explorers will have the opportunity to invite three friends to join the program. They’ll be able to buy Glass online and can have it shipped to their home, office, treehouse or igloo.”
Those invited by the original Explorers will also receive the new and improved version of Glass, which is likely to be closer to the final version of the hardware. Google also said they’ll be emailing the original Explorers with further details about upgrading their headsets to the newer model.
"We want to say 'thank you' for all the amazing feedback we've been getting, so later this year, all Explorers will have a one-time option to swap out their existing Glass for a new one," wrote Google in their blog post. This upgrade option will only be extended to those Explorers who were the first to sign up. Only those Explorers who signed up before October 28 will be eligible for the upgrade, and Google will be getting in touch with these early adopters next month.
Google Glass has been the source of conversation and controversy since it was first shown off last year on the web and later during Google’s I/O Developer Conference in San Francisco. Though the original plans for the device included an augmented reality feature to display maps of what was being viewed through Glass and more, Google has decided to remove this feature in the first generation model.
Also removed from this early iteration are apps that use Glass’ facial recognition capabilities. As the glasses are capable of quietly taking a video with little evidence save a small red light, many were concerned that the “smart” spectacles could represent a serious invasion of privacy. This summer Google said they would ban any apps that use facial recognition from the Google Play app store, though they left room to one day add this functionality to the platform.
The search giant has also been awarded a patent which allows the glasses to determine what real-life ads a wearer is looking at and whether they had a positive emotional response. The patent also covers advertisements which are beamed directly to the wearer’s eyeball.
According to anonymous inside sources, Google may have wanted to use a giant floating barge in the San Francisco bay to hock their new Internet-connected Glasses. Workers began constructing a mysterious four-story structure on the water several months ago. Though it was once rumored to be a floating data center for Google, new reports claim this barge could be used as a marketing ploy to bring new customers in to try Glass for the first time. The city of San Francisco is said to have stopped construction on the barge, however, because Google does not have the appropriate permits and had not yet disclosed their plans for the structure.