Published May 17, 2013
Hey four eyes! How about a fifth?
A special, prototype version of Google Glass for eyeglass wearers was spied on the faces of at least three engineers and developers at the Google I/O conference, CNET’s Seth Rosenblatt reported.
Rosenblatt said he saw Mark Shand, a Google Glass engineer with a long history in tech that stretches back to Xerox PARC, wearing a prototype model fitted for prescription glasses. And two other Google employees at the show also wore what appeared to be exactly the same prototype model.
"Wearing prescription Google Glass is no harder than [dealing with] sunglasses," said Glass engineer Adam Haberlach, who was spotted wearing the same frames.
Glass for the eyesight-impaired replaces the titanium band in the standard model with a generic pair of black plastic glasses, onto which the display arm and other components are melded. The module did not appear to be removable.
Many experts have surmised that manufacturers such as Warby Parker, which has refocused the eyeglass industry through online sales of inexpensive eyeglasses and sunglasses, could offer Google Glass as an option for consumers. Alternately, the manufacturers of protective eyewear for sports -- such as Oakley, which has a history with high-tech gear -- may offer integrated modules.
Google’s weird, cyber-gizmo may not be ready to leave the nest, but it’s finally reaching adolescence, following a series of other announcements and revelations from the developer-centric Google I/O conference that wrapped up in California Friday.
Chief among them: the release of half a dozen or more apps to augment the device’s functionality.
In addition to The New York Times app, which was released about two weeks ago, new tools from Evernote, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, CNN and Elle were pushed out to the approximately 500 developer model glasses in the wild.
Rather than accessing them through an app store as on iPhones or Windows 8 computers, the apps simply appear when the MyGlass app is updated on the Android device paired with Glass.
The Facebook app, for instance, lets users share pictures and other content with that network's billion-plus users, rather than the struggling Google Plus.
Still, with only the developer price tag of $1,500 to look at and concerns over privacy escalating, consumers appear hesitant about the bleeding-edge device.
A new poll from BiTE Interactive claims that only one in 10 American smartphone users would use Google Glass regularly.
“Google Glass represents a profound social barrier for the average consumer,” BiTE vice president Joseph Farrell said.