Some Google Glass Explorers Getting Invites to Buy a Second Glass

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2013-12-03

Some Google Glass Explorers Getting Invites to Buy a Second Glass

To compensate some Google Glass Explorers who recently were kept out of the online Glass accessory store due to a glitch, Google is offering to sell them a second Glass device to use themselves or share with a friend. And in other news sure to be welcomed by Glass users, the Google Play Music app for Glass is now available to Glass Explorers.

The option to purchase a second Glass device was revealed in a Dec. 2 post by The Glass Almanac, which detailed an email received from Google after the Glass store problems cropped up. The technical problem has since been fixed.

"Hi there. As you might have discovered, some Explorers who purchased Glass over the phone weren't able to access our store," the email stated, according to the report. "You weren't missing anything before but we have goodies in there now, so here's a code that you can use to get started."

A purchase code was provided so the email recipient could access the store where the earbuds were being offered for $85. "We're so grateful that you've been with us since the beginning," the email continued. "So, in addition to the new earbuds that you'll find in our store, we'd also like to give you the option to purchase a second Glass for yourself or for a friend, as many of you have requested."

The Google Play Music news was reported in a Dec. 2 post by Android Headlines, which stated that the new app is now available in the MyGlass applications site that's available to Glass users. Previously, Google Play Music was only available to Glass users if they followed a slightly intimidating install procedure using and APK file and a command-line installation using the Android Debug Bridge tool, according to the report. "Although the process is not overly complicated, it is not something that the average user normally wants to deal with," said Android Headlines.

The addition of the Google Play Music app for Glass now makes its installation easy, with no more requirements for special install routines. "The MyGlass webpage turns this into a one-click install that pushes the required files to Glass over the air," the story states. "No cables or command line knowledge is needed."

Glass users who had installed the earlier version of the Google Play Music service must remove it before installing the new app, the story reported.

Google Play Music will allow users to listen to the music tracks in their Google Play Music accounts, as well as access new music if they pay a $9.99 monthly fee.

Google had announced on Nov. 12  that users would soon be able to access their music through the Google Play Music app very soon. A new voice command, "Okay Glass, listen to," allows users to access their stored music.

Some Google Glass Explorers Getting Invites to Buy a Second Glass

Also in November, Google announced that it is expanding the Glass sales program to more developers to give them the opportunity to use them and create innovative apps that could help expand the future Glass marketplace. The expanded Glass availability to select developers apparently began toward the end of November and became publicized by recipients of the invitations, who then posted news of their windfalls on the Google+ Glass page and other Web pages. Under the program, an as-yet-unknown number of additional developers will be able to purchase their own Glass devices for $1,500, plus shipping.

Little other information was forthcoming from Google about the expansion, based on a Nov. 27 email inquiry from eWEEK. "We previously issued a statement on the expansion of the Explorer program, which is still true," according to a reply from a Google spokesperson who asked to remain anonymous. "As we've said for several months, our goal is to continue to expand our Explorer program ahead of a wider consumer launch down the road in 2014."

A lot has been happening in the world of Glass lately. Earlier in November, a report surfaced that said Google is in talks to make Google Glass available with prescription lenses for wearers of prescription eyeglasses. The report said Google has been in talks about such an arrangement with VSP Global, a nationwide vision benefits provider that also makes frames and lenses, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. The article added that "the discussions are in early stages, and so far, the companies have no formal agreement."

The possibility is intriguing nonetheless because it adds interesting possibilities to Google's previously acknowledged plans to create a version of Glass that could be used by people who wear eyeglasses. VSP already provides vision plan services for Google's employees, The Wall Street Journal reported, and is a major provider in the eye health marketplace, with a network of 30,000 eye doctors, covering some 60 million people insured in its plans.

Google Glass doesn't come with traditional lenses, but some users have modified them to work with their eyeglasses. Still, to make Glass work with prescription eyeglasses, an integrated approach like an agreement with a company such as VSP is probably a good idea to help such a project succeed.

Earlier in November, Google offered a sneak peek at its Glass Development Kit, which will soon be unveiled to allow developers to gain even broader control and innovation in their next designs and features for Google Glass apps. The GDK is an add-on to the Android Software Developers Kit that lets developers build Glass apps, called Glassware, that run directly on Glass. Unlike the Mirror API, Glassware built with the GDK runs on Glass itself, allowing access to low-level hardware features, according to Google. In a related Google+ post, Google revealed that five additional useful and innovative Glass apps are now available for use by Glass Explorer users. The new apps were built using the new GDK, according to Google.

In October, Google began a new Glass program that allows existing users to invite up to three friends to buy their own eyewear-mounted computers now, before they go on sale to the general public sometime later this year. The invite-a-friend program is being viewed by Google as a way to expand its Glass Explorer Program, which is the name used for the first test users of the innovative devices. Existing early Glass users will also now have a one-time chance to trade in their current Glass devices for the latest model, which includes improvements and updates.

Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first surfaced in 2012. The first Google Glass units began shipping in April 2013 to developers who signed up at the June 2012 Google I/O conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development. It was the hit of the conference. Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were selected in the #ifihadglass contest for the opportunity to buy their own early versions of Glass.

Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also feature a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers.


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