It's official: Google Glass is here

The company's latest contest could win you a pair -- for $1500 and a self-paid trip.

By Benzinga Feb 25, 2013 12:45PM
By Tim Parker

While Apple (AAPL) iWatch rumors continue to slog their way through the blogosphere, Google (GOOG) has upped the ante.

Google's Glass is not a rumor, it's real. And according to Google, you can get one by the end of 2013 if you enter and win a special contest.

At least, that's what Google calls it. This contest has some unique rules. First, participants have to pay $1,500 for the Glass, if they win. Also, winners will have to travel to New York, San Francisco or Los Angeles to pick up their prize. (UPS (UPS) is not available.)

If that isn't enough, entrants must come up with a really creative idea of how they would use their Glass. To help contestants come up with ideas, Google has released a video, How it Feels [through Glass], that provides a behind-the-lens view of the Glass experience. Google hasn't specified how many "winners" there will be -- supposedly, that will depend on the number of "really creative ideas."

CNET reported that Glass will be able to connect via Bluetooth to both Android phones and the iPhone, while pulling data from Wi-Fi and using the 3G/4G feeds from the connected phone. Glass will not have its own cellular radio.

Joshua Topolsky at The Verge tried out Glass at Google's New York City headquarters and reported that acclimation to the device was very easy. "The privacy issue is going to be a big hurdle for Google with Glass," Topolsky says. "Almost as big as the hurdle it has to jump over to convince normal people to wear something as alien and unfashionable as Glass seems right now."

The Google logo is seen on a podium and projected on a screen at Google headquarters in Mountain View Califorina Paul Sakuma AP Topolsky was taken by Glass's ability to record what is right in front of you in real time. This brings up the privacy issue. Will people be comfortable knowing that someone simply looking at them wearing a pair of glasses might videotape them?

Google product director Steve Lee turned the privacy issue around by discussing the advantage of being a parent at a child's soccer game or musical, recording while  watching everything in real time. Lee compares this with other parents watching through a camcorder viewfinder -- and missing everything.

Glass isn't going to have a large effect on Google's stock in 2013.  Contest aside, the product won't be widely available until 2014. However, with talk already beginning to spread about possible features and options on Version 2, the sky may be the limit.

Forbes reported a number of desirable features that could make Glass V2 widely popular, assuming Google can bring the price point down to around $500 or so. Possible features include a binocular heads up display, corrective lenses, a hearing aid app, color blindness correction, even an app to aid those with macular eye disease.

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