Google Glass is getting a little easier to buy and use—if you have a friend who is already a Google Glass owner and will “invite” you to share in the fun. That’s the idea behind a new Glass program that will allow 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, according to an Oct. 28 post by the Glass team on its Google+ page.
“So over the next few weeks, all Explorers will have the opportunity to invite three friends to join the program,” the post read. “They’ll be able to buy Glass online and can have it shipped to their home, office, treehouse or igloo. We’re counting on you to get Glass to the people you think will make great Explorers. More Explorers means more feedback, and more feedback means better Glass.”
Existing early Glass users aren’t being left out by the company, however, according to the post. Those users will now have a one-time chance to trade in their existing Glass devices for the latest model, which includes improvements and updates, the post reported.
“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,” the post states. “This hardware update will allow your Glass to work with future lines of shades and prescription frames, and we’ll also include a mono earbud.”
The device-swap offer applies to Glass Explorers who purchased their devices before October 28, 2013, according to Google. “The Explorer Program is designed for people who want to shape the future of Glass. We are always improving the software based on Explorers’ feedback, and this time, we’ve made some improvements to the hardware.”
When the swapping program opens, participants will have 60 days to register for their device exchange if they desire to do so, according to Google. Eligible Glass Explorers will be notified in November about what they have to do if they want to receive a new device. Participants can even exchange their Glass devices if they want a different color than the ones they originally selected.
Of course, with an offer like this, some Google Glass users have already taken to auction sites like eBay to try to sell their invite-a-friend offers. Buy It Now prices of up to $2,000 or more are posted, as well as more than 60 auctions by sellers, based on a search of eBay on Oct. 29, and those prices are only for the opportunity to buy Glass for $1,500 plus taxes and shipping from Google.
Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first arrived 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, at which 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.
Google Glass Users Can Invite Friends to Get Their Own Glass Devices
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.
In August, Google Glass Explorers received several cool and useful software updates for the devices, including Google Now “cards” that provide up-to-the-minute information on the weather, nearby traffic, restaurants and much more. The Google Now cards for Glass give users the capabilities to receive reminders for dinner reservations, hotel bookings and concerts for which the users receive an email confirmation, as well as the ability to find show times and movie information for nearby theaters.
Critical information such as emergency alerts can also be received through the cards when severe thunderstorm or flash flood warnings are in effect. Other Google Now cards will present information on real-time traffic conditions and alternate routes for commutes, as well as local weather forecasts and live sports scores for a user’s favorite teams.
Google Now, which was introduced for Android devices by Google in June 2012, presents its information through a series of flip-through “cards” that are visible on the screen of a device, providing a different piece of information on each card. The “cards” appear at the moment they are needed by users, such as the train schedule card appearing when a user is heading to the local train station.
Earlier in August, another early Glass user unveiled the first video game that he built for Glass, which uses head motions to play the game. Mobile games designer Sean McCracken also became one of the first Glass Explorers when his gaming idea was selected by Google as part of the #ifihadglass competition.
In February 2013, Google expanded its nascent test project for its Glass eyewear-mounted computer by inviting interested applicants to submit proposals for a chance to buy an early model and become part of its continuing development. In March, Google also began notifying a pool of applicants who were selected to purchase the first 8,000 sets of Google Glass when they become available for real-world use and testing later this year by consumers. Those selected applicants have been receiving their units in waves.