Google Set To Deliver Glass To More Users


Google is to send out Glass sets to members of the public who submitted innovative ideas for using the head-mounted devices, ahead of a possible retail launch later this year

In February Google invited the general public to submit their innovative, fun and cool ideas for how they would use Google Glass if they could put their hands on the eyewear-mounted computers. Now Google is getting ready to ship those devices out in waves to those whose ideas were approved – once they come up with the $1,500 (£990) each set will cost.

“Over the next few weeks, we’ll be slowly rolling out invitations to successful #ifihadglass applicants”, the Glass team wrote in a 22 May post on the Glass Project’s Google+ page. “If you were one of the successful applicants, please make sure you have +Project Glass in your Circles so we can send you a message.”

Winning proposals

Those winning applicants learned in March that they’d been selected to purchase one of the first 8,000 sets of Google Glass under the extended testing programme. Since then, they have been waiting to hear news about when their Glass devices would arrive.

Here are some of the winning applicants and their proposals for using Google Glass:

Google GlassAida Malanovich, who proposed to use Glass to “capture moments that go by so fast that I wished my eyes were a camera.”

Jim Pfaff, who said he wanted to use Glass to “experiment as the first congressional staffer to go live during the day showing more about life on Capitol Hill and in D.C.”

Roselyn Baldevieso, who proposed to use Glass to “take crazy videos at all the music festivals I go to & I would use it to talk to people in their own languages.”

Linda Barlow, who proposed, “So what if I’m in my 7th decade, I’d leap from a plane, land on a roof, zoom on a motorbike, rappel down a wall, and SMILE.”

Shannon Rooney, who wants to use Glass to “travel to Japan and help my Grandma live her dream of going back to her homeland without her leaving the house. #ifihadglass I would meet family for the first time with her by my side and she would be able to experience the activities, sites and sounds of Japan again.”

The applicants and all the rest will soon be hearing from Google about how they’ll get their devices.

“We’re thrilled to be moving into the next phase of our Explorer Programme, and we hope to expand in the future,” the Glass team post said. “Unfortunately, we aren’t taking any more applications right now, but you can sign up here to stay informed.”

The very first Google Glass preview units already began shipping in April to the developers who signed up at the original June 2012 Google I/O conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development.

Official developer debut

The Glass project was unveiled officially for the first time to developers at that event, where the eyewear-mounted computer was the hit of the conference. As of 21 May, those shipments to the I/O developers were completed, according to Google.

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 eight feet away. The glasses also boast a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p.

Audio is delivered to the wearer through their bones, using a bone-conduction transducer that had been revealed in earlier reports.

Google Glass isn’t ready for the general public, but sales of the devices are now expected to begin sometime later this year. That’s at least several months earlier than the 2014 retail debut the company had been targeting since last year, a source inside Google told eWEEK. The source would not elaborate on why the retail launch schedule is being moved up.

Not all the news about Glass has been flattering, of course. Privacy experts have been publicly sharing some of their concerns about how Glass might be detrimental to privacy as the devices begin showing up in cities and towns across the nation.

A West Virginia legislator even introduced a bill this past March that would have banned drivers from operating motor vehicles while wearing Glass and similar head-mounted devices, but the bill stalled and no action was taken in the last session of the state House.

Privacy issues

Some members of the US Congress are also taking up the cause of asking lots more questions about the privacy implications of Google Glass, even before the devices are sold to the general public, according to a recent eWEEK report.

Earlier this month, the Bi-partisan Congressional Privacy Caucus sent a letter to Google chief executive Larry Page asking some pointed questions about how Google planned to ensure that the privacy of users, and more important, non-users, was being protected.

The members of the caucus noted a series of stories in the media that had emerged about Google Glass, particularly the ability to find detailed information about a person just by looking at them, and letting Google perform facial recognition and then providing all available information.

Other big Glass news arrived on 16 May at this year’s Google I/O Developers Conference, where Glass-enabled Facebook and Twitter apps were launched so that early Glass testers can use the devices to hook up with their favourite social media platforms.

Twitter announced its new app for Glass in a post on The Twitter Blog, highlighting the app’s ability to let users easily share photos and connect with others using the 140-character messaging platform.

Glass users of the Twitter app will also be able to keep up with people they follow on Twitter using notifications for mentions, direct messages and tweets from specific users.

To obtain the Twitter app for Glass, users can visit the Google MyGlass website and turn on the app. The new Facebook app is also available now, allowing users to upload photos to their timelines and add descriptions with voice. Other new Glass apps that are scheduled in the future include Tumblr, CNN and Elle, which are still in development.

Software updates

In March, Google began demonstrating some of the cool third-party apps that were first made available for the first Glass devices that were shipping to early users. Among them were a news app that delivers headlines and photos from The New York Times, an email app and a note-creation app for Evernote.

Earlier in May, the first software updates for Glass were distributed by Google, including new features such as incoming Google+ notifications for users.

The new Google Glass XE5 software update features a host of improvements, such as crash reporting for the devices, incoming Google+ notifications for direct shares, comments and Google+ mentions, and increased speed for transcription of queries and messages.

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Originally published on eWeek.

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