Google Glass, get 'em while they last

The wearables are still in beta (and still cost $1,500), but anyone can buy a pair now

Google is ramping up its efforts to get its wearable computer onto as many heads as possible by opening up Glass for general sale.

The company announced Tuesday evening that after keeping a tight reign on Glass sales, the computerized eyeglasses now are up for sale -- as long as Google has them in stock to sell.

Google's Project Glass allows people to wear augmented reality glasses. (Image: Google)

Google's Glass team made it clear in a post on Google+ that the product is still in beta testing and the company's looking for early adopters, also known as Explorers, while engineers continue to work on the hardware and software and third parties add to the ecosystem of apps.

"Last week, we told you we'd be trying out new ways to find Explorers," the team wrote in the blog post. "Well, we weren't kidding. We learned a lot when we opened our site a few weeks ago, so we've decided to move to a more open beta."

For now, Glass is only available for sale in the United States, though the team noted in comments on the blog post that they hope to make Glass more widely available "in the future." The team didn't specify a timeframe.

Anyone interested in purchasing a pair, still priced at $1,500, can get one, while they last, at this site.

Glass is expected to come out of beta and be officially available for sale sometime this year.

Google has recently begun to escalate its efforts to push Glass out to an increasingly large user base.

The company started by enlisting thousands of Explorers in the spring of 2013, selling its first prototypes. Then in October, the company moved to triple the number of testers, asking Explorers to invite three people to join the program.

By this spring, it was generally thought that Google had 8,000 to 10,000 Explorers on board.

Then on April 15, Google gave U.S. users the chance to buy Glass during a one-day sale. Customers had to pay $1,500 for the digital eyewear and could choose their own design of prototype. Google declined to say how many pairs it sold that day.

Just last weekend, the company put Glass up for sale at the Player's Championship golf tournament in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. In a blog post earlier this week, the Glass team said it was bulking up its inventory and getting ready to sell a lot more of the devices.

The wearable computers have a transparent display over the right lens and enable users to take photos, shoot video, search the Web, send email and share images and info across social networks. Glass, which can be controlled by voice, touch and gesture, has a growing ecosystem of apps from partners like Facebook, CNN, Twitter and Elle.

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

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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