Google hopes designer frames will sharpen Glass

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2014 at 12:39 pm •  Published: January 28, 2014
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NEW YORK (AP) — Google Glass is getting glasses.

The computerized, Internet-connected goggles don't actually come with lenses in its frame. Starting Tuesday, Google is offering an optional attachment for prescription lenses and new styles of detachable sunglasses.

The move comes as Google Inc. prepares to make Glass available to the general population later this year. Currently, Glass is available only to the tens of thousands of people who are testing and creating apps for it.

Glass is basically a small computer, with a camera and a display screen above the wearer's right eye. The device sits roughly at eyebrow level, higher than where eyeglasses would go.

It lets wearers surf the Web, ask for directions and take photos or videos. Akin to wearing a smartphone without having to hold it in your hands, Glass also lets people read their email, share photos on Twitter and Facebook, translate phrases while traveling or partake in video chats. Glass follows some basic voice commands, spoken after the words "OK, Glass."

The gadget itself is not changing with this announcement. Rather, Google plans to make various attachments available for people who wear glasses or sunglasses.

The Mountain View, Calif., company is now offering four styles of frames for prescription lenses. It's also offering two new types of shades, in addition to the one previously available. The frames cost $225 and the shades, $150. That's on top of the $1,500 price of Glass.

Users can take the frames to any vision care provider for prescription lenses. Google says it is working with insurance provider Vision Service Plan to train eye-care providers around the U.S. on how to work with Glass.

Google says some insurance plans may cover the cost of the frames. VSP, which covers 64 million people in the U.S., will also provide coverage for the frames and prescription lenses as part of its partnership with Google. VSP's typical allowances for frames can range from $80 to $160.

Isabelle Olsson, the lead designer for Google Glass, says the new frames open the spectacles up to a larger audience.

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