Google said on Tuesday, March 26 that it has finally chosen 8,000 individuals who will be allowed to purchase its Glass augmented reality specs early. The company began notifying these people on Tuesday, and will allow them to go to New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco to purchase an "Explorer" test version of the specs for USD 1,500.
The commercial version isn't slated to hit the market until the end of 2013 or early 2014.
The pool selected by Google is the result of a contest the company held last month, which required residents in the U.S. to submit a 50-word application through Twitter (#ifihadglass) or Google Plus. Potential winners were asked to explain how they would use the wearable technology.
"We could never have imagined such an enthusiastic response! There were so many creative, diverse, and (sometimes) crazy applications," the company stated on Google Plus. "We’ve certainly learned a lot through this whole process and it’s inspiring to hear how much passion there is for Glass."
Google indicated that the 8,000 users of the Explorer version will help the Glass engineers better understand how the technology will be used by individuals outside of Google. Based on feedback and usage information provided by the specs, Google will be able to fine-tune the technology for a wider population before shipping the specs to retailers.
According to reports, contest winners had a diversity of ideas. One contestant stated that Explorer will be used in Veteran Administration hospitals so that World War II veterans can see their memorials before they die. Another plans to take a trip to Japan with Explorer so that her U.S.-based Japanese grandmother can see her native homeland again. A third winner is a zookeeper who plans to use Explorer to show how penguins are fed.
Google Glass is just one of many devices leading the "wearable computer" revolution. Its goal is to shift many applications that are performed by a smartphone to the user's field of view. Instead of rubbing the screen of a phone, the Explorer wearer uses voice commands. However, the embedded camera has caused some concern for privacy advocates and has even banned the specs from a Seattle bar.
"Over the next few days we’ll be sending out invitations to our Explorer Program through Google+ and Twitter," the company said. "So, keep a lookout for tweets and G+ posts from @projectglass and +Project Glass to see if you’ve been invited."
Congrats to those who landed an early chance to use Google Glass!