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Glass: Google sends out dummy specs in try-before-you-buy program

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Nov. 4, 2013: Developer Maximiliano Firtman wears the prototype device Google Glass. (Reuters)

In a marketing move that some may find a little odd, Google is now sending out dummy sets of Glass as part of a new try-on scheme to let you find out how the gadget feels perched on the end of your schnozz, or, perhaps more importantly, so you can decide if you look like a Glasshole before you splash out on the yet-to-launch device.

In an email sent out this week to a number of individuals who’d previously expressed an interest in its high-tech specs, the Mountain View company offered a Glass unit with a set of prescription frames from its recently launched Titanium Collection “to help you find the frame style and Glass color that fits you best before you purchase.” In a statement, Google confirmed the program and said it would decide at a later date whether to continue with it.

The try-before-you-buy kit features a non-functioning Glass device, so instead of being able to use it to take photos, shoot videos, listen to music, handle messages, get directions, make calls, or one of the myriad of other things it’s capable of doing, you’ll instead have to settle with simply putting it on.

Of course, you might want to try walking along the street wearing it, to see how your fellow human beings react to someone with a computer on their head. After all, if one of them comes up and punches you in the face, you’ll know to spend your $1,500 on something a little more discreet.

Reports Thursday indicated that the Glass units being sent out in the kits are used devices with the tech torn out. To ensure participants return the dummy specs and frames, Google is placing a $50 hold on recipients’ credit cards until it’s sent back.

Over the last year or so the company has also been sending out operational sets of Glass to build up its army of Explorer testers. Earlier this week it offered the device to the general public in a special one-day sale as part of a scheme to increase feedback from users in readiness for its full-scale commercial release, possibly before the end of the year.