Go ahead, invite a friend to try Google Glass

Google looks to expand the Glass Explorer program by convincing testers to invite a friend to join (for $1,500)

Google, looking to expand its Google Glass Explorer program, is asking testers of the technology to invite a friend to buy into using a prototype of the wearable computer.

Google sent an email to some Explorers, inviting them to bring a friend into the Explorer program so he or she can try out Glass.

An Explorer must be age 18 or older, a U.S. citizen and be available to pick up a system in San Francisco, New York or Los Angeles, according to Google's " Invite a Friend" email. Glass Explorer Ryan Mott posted the note online yesterday.

Those accepting the invitation aren't getting a gift -- each new tester will have to pay the same $1,500 fee paid by the Explorer original group.

"We are always experimenting with new ways to expand our Explorer program," a Google spokesman told Computerworld in an email.

At this point, upwards of 10,000 people -- Explorers, developers and other techies -- have been test driving the Glass computerized eyeglasses, which can take photos, shoot video, send and receive Gmail messages, post updates to Facebook and receive feeds from top news operations.

Google has told the current Explorers that the Glass Development Kit, or GDK, will be distributed shortly, though it would disclose a specific ship date. A new computer graphics library will aid developers building apps that run on Glass.

Meanwhile, last week's announcement of Google's plan to buy a minority stake in Taiwan-based Himax Display, a maker of components used in Glass, indicated to some analysts the start of a ramping up of production.

Himax parent Himax Technologies said Google plans to buy a 6.3% interest in the unit to fund production upgrades and expand capacity to make liquid crystal on silicon (LCOS) chips.

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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