Google Glass, the computer and camera you wear on your face, can be yours starting next Tuesday. Google has been rolling out Glass to a select group of "Explorers" since early 2013, but soon, anyone in the U.S. with $1,500 plus tax can get a headset at this link.
There is a catch. This is a limited sale that starts April 15 at 9 a.m. and ends on the same day. Google is touting the wider sale as an ongoing experiment with its users — a time to get more feedback under an expanded (as in, open to all) Explorer program. From the Google announcement:
"Our Explorers are moms, artists, surgeons, rockers, and each new Explorer has brought a new perspective that is making Glass better. But every day we get requests from those of you who haven't found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too. So in typical Explorer Program fashion, we're trying something new."
In the short time it's been around, Glass has already raised a lot of interesting questions about the future of wearable computing for our culture, won some vocal haters and led to the naming of a new species — the 'Glasshole,' a term used to describe Glass users who use it in obnoxious or intrusive ways.
If it does sell well and Glass shows up in more places, Mat Honan's essay for Wired will seem prescient:
"My Glass experiences have left me a little wary of wearables because I'm never sure where they're welcome. I'm not wearing my $1,500 face computer on public transit where there's a good chance it might be yanked from my face. I won't wear it out to dinner, because it seems as rude as holding a phone in my hand during a meal. I won't wear it to a bar. I won't wear it to a movie. I can't wear it to the playground or my kid's school because sometimes it scares children. ...
"Again and again, I made people very uncomfortable. That made me very uncomfortable. People get angry at Glass. They get angry at you for wearing Glass."
Here's some of our previous coverage of the implications of Glass: