SAN FRANCISCO – Google is once again selling its Internet-connected eyewear to anyone in the U.S. as the company fine-tunes a device that has sparked intrigue and disdain for its potential to change the way people interact with technology.
The latest release of Google Glass comes a month after a one-day sale gave U.S. residents their first chance to buy the hottest accessory in geek fashion.
Google Inc. isn’t setting a time limit for people to buy Glass this time, although the company is emphasizing that the product remains in its test, or Explorer, phase.
As has been the case since Google began selling Glass to a select group in 2012, the device costs $1,500. It’s available only on Google’s website for now.
Glass, which comes in five colors, looks like a pair of spectacles – except the Explorer edition has no actual glass in the frames. Instead, the device has a thumbnail-sized screen attached above the right eye so a user can check email, see Twitter posts or get directions without having to grope for a phone.
For no extra cost, Google will add a titanium frame that can be fitted with prescription lenses or sunglasses from Maui Jim or Zeal Optics that can be clipped on.
The resumed sale of Google Glass is the latest indication that the Mountain View, California, company is nearing a mass-market release of the device.
Google is planning to release a more polished version of Glass by the end of this year that may sell for less than the price of the Explorer version. Analysts believe the cost will have to come down dramatically if Glass is to become anything more than a novelty.
The parts and assembly of Glass cost only $152.47, based on an analysis by the research firm IHS Technology. Most of Glass’ costs stem from the extensive engineering and design behind it, IHS said.
Misgivings about Glass center on its ability to take hands-free photos and video through voice-activated commands. The ability to record images so easily – and perhaps secretly – has raised privacy and piracy concerns and has prompted some casinos, theaters and bars to ban the use of Glass on their property.