Google Glass may soon look more “avant-garde” expanding their targeted audience from the tech savvy to the cool, hip and stylish. The company yesterday had confirmed a partnership with Luxoticca, an Italian eyewear designer, who are behind such glasses as Oakley and Ray-Ban. Google hopes to make Glass a leading technology in the “smart eyewear market.”
Upon release to the public Google will sell Glass in Luxoticca, which has 5,000 stores across the United States. Details about the price and its availability are still not known. The chief executive of the company Andrea Guererra said that the partnership between Google Glass, with its “cutting edge technology,” and the “avant-garde” designs of Luxoticca will lead to “a new generation of revolutionary devices.”
Google Glass is an eyewear technology that is worn around the head like a visor and the user, through a thumb-nail screen over their right eye has access to the internet. Other uses include taking photos and videos hands-free, translating your voice, and giving directions upon command.
The technology has its fair share of critics. One of their biggest supporters, Jeff Jarvis, a professor, journalist and author of three tech books including What Would Google Do?, is one of them. Jarvis, who wrote how companies should imitate the example that Google made, tweeted in February about how Google Glass is “useless,” “inconvenient,” “clumsy,” and, currently at $1500, a “horrid waste of money.”
Google Glass has inadvertently created a new slang known as “glasshole,” which is a term used for the explorers, test subjects, who use Google Glass for less respectful purposes, such as taking photos of people without consent. In response, the company added it to their list of do’s and don’ts on their website telling users not to be “creepy and rude” with glasshole in brackets.
A re-design of Google Glass to a more avant-garde look could be key if they plan on taking that next step forward and targeting to wider audiences. According to Huffington Post, forty percent of 2000 Americans polled in a study by Rackspace and Goldsmiths College in the University of London said that they would not buy Glass when it becomes available for sale. Thirty-eight percent of the polled were undecided. The biggest reason was that Glass was “probably” too expensive and they also expressed a basic lack of interest in such technology.
Analysts told BBC that they believe the price will likely drop. One analyst estimated that it may decrease to around $495.
Google Glass’ partnership is not the first time it has expanded to a different audience. In January the company introduced the Titanium collection. These products are sunglasses and prescription glasses that can fit Google Glass on to them. The cost was tagged at $225 on top of the hefty price of the eyewear tech itself.
This news of Google Glass adopting an avant-garde look comes just a week after the company announced they will be targeting wearables starting with a smartwatch that has the operating system of Android Wear. Features include getting the speed, time information and distance for when an individual is exercising, along with Google Maps to give direction. The watch also uses Google Now, an automatic reminder system, on top of notifications from Android smartphones. LG already has a partnership with Google and their G Watch will be available in the next few months.
By Kollin Lore