Google apparently got a lot of people excited online in the last 24 hours by conducting an "experiment" that offered an unknown number of early Google Glass Explorer users a chance to invite a friend to also buy and use the eyewear-mounted computers.
The emailed offers were mentioned by several early Google Glass users on Google+, including posts by Ryan Mott, an application developer with VML, and by a woman who identifies herself as Kata Rina.
"Whoa! Remember Gmail invites?" wrote Mott on his July 30 post, which also featured an image of the "Invite a friend to explore Glass" email that he received from the Google Glass support team. "Now for Glass... how long before these hit eBay?"
The email from the Google team tells recipients that they can extend an offer to obtain a Glass unit to a friend who meets certain requirements. "Mostly we love sharing Glass with our friends, because adventures through Glass are more fun with others," says the email. "Here's your chance to invite one friend into the Glass Explorer Program. Complete this form and share Glass with a friend, funny face demo and all."
All invited friends must be a United States resident, 18 years of age or older and must be able to pick up their Glass unit, if they are accepted into the program, in either San Francisco, New York of Los Angeles, according to the email.
After receiving her own invitation on July 30, Kata Rina reposted the email she received on Google+ and asked, "Anyone else got this?"
Dozens of other Google+ users began responding to the posts by Mott and Rina, which eventually captured the attention of Sarah Price, a Google Glass community advocate who gave more details about emergence of the emailed Glass offers in a series of posts. "Hey everyone, just to clarify—this is an experiment we're trying," wrote Price. "This is an experiment, so some Explorers (early users of Google Glass, as they are known) got the email."
Some 6 hours later, the previously unannounced invitation program apparently came to an end that was just as sudden, according to a later post by Price. "Hey guys, confirmed, no more emails are going out right now for this experiment," she posted early on the morning of July 31.
Google did not immediately respond today to a request by eWEEK for further details about the program.
The invite-a-friend program certainly perked up interest from others who had read the posts by Mott, Rina and Price.
"Seriously though, I would sell my mother for a pair," posted Michael Anderson.
"Whoa... I can't wait to get an invite to share," wrote Keith I. Myers. "I know someone who really wants one."
Zack Ervin was philosophical about the invite-a-friend offer, which he called "a pretty smart move on Google's part. I imagine quite a few people who submitted for the original program, got the invite and never had the resources to participate. By asking existing Explorers to manage the invites, they are much less likely to reach dead ends. Someone, somewhere, ran the numbers and determined there was an X probability they would get a [higher percentage] purchase rate. It is HIGHLY unlikely that an existing Explorer would invite someone who does not have the means to participate. [Here's] hoping I have an Glass Angel out there somewhere, and Congrats to all of those who DO make it into the second round."