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Google taking glass to the masses as original specs get a makeover


“Frames and shades for whatever you do, wherever you go, and whoever you are.”

So reads the new promotional material for the revamped version of “glass,” Google’s internet-connected eyewear that have so far been limited to a few hundred dorky “explorers” who were willing to be the butt of jokes and ridicule in order to be technical pioneers.

But by adding four new frame styles - including sunglasses and prescription lenses - as well as vision insurance partner VSP, it’s easy to see that Google Inc. (GOOG) is starting to focus on the commercial potential of this obscure offshoot of a project.

As my co-host Jeff Macke and I discuss in the attached video, the key to successfully taking Glass mainstream will depend on style and price. So far the device has cost $1500 from Google and is going for as much as $2500 on sites like eBay (EBAY). But even if you had the money, the devices were only available on a limited test-marketing basis.

Google has said the consumer price won't be quite so high, and now with the product getting a refresh it seems Glass could find its place in modern society where people already spend a lot of time looking at their phones.

“The truth is we’re jerks,” says Macke of our uber-connected culture. “We’re self-absorbed putzes anyway so why not just wear your glasses while you’re doing it?”

For its part, Google has put together a series of slick videos with attractive models and athletes using Glass and loving life to help jumpstart interest. Whether it succeeds or fails remains to be seen, but either way it will have no impact on the $360 billion empire that’s backing it.

And finally, if you’re still not ready to swap your smartphone for some funky new computerized specs, fear not. More changes are already in the works. In fact, the very same website that seeks to make Glass appealing to “whoever you are” also proclaims that “this is just the start” and promises that “we’re working on more ways for Glass to fit you and your lifestyle. Stay tuned.”