Google Glass have undeniably sophisticated technology. They’re also undeniably silly-looking, which has contributed to the public’s attitude of ambivalence bordering on hostility toward Google’s headwear.
Questions of privacy and etiquette will continue to plague Glass wearers, but Glasshole fashion is on the upswing: Italian eyewear company Luxottica, which owns brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley, announced a deal with Google to design and distribute updated versions of Glass. This deal highlights Google’s desire to make Glass more appealing to style-conscious consumers. It may also end speculation that Warby Parker planned to partner with Google to make better-looking Glass.
Google has introduced more stylish frames for Glass in the past; it debuted four minimalist frame choices for people who need prescription eyewear this January. But this Luxottica partnership is significant because Google is farming out the design to this company, which has plenty of mainstream brand appeal.
Luxottica Chief Executive Officer Andrea Guerra told Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper that the company’s Glass offerings would be available in 2015. Right now, Google requires would-be Glassholes to apply to buy Glass, but this may signal a timeline for opening up the product for wider distribution, since Luxottica’s reach as a distributor is massive: the brand dominates popular U.S. eyewear stores like Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out. As far as breaking into view of mainstream U.S. consumers, this Luxottica deal could not be more important to a Glass breakthrough.
Of course, fears that Glass is invasive will not go away just because they received a makeover, but making the novel product look more familiar may help Google make consumers more comfortable with the idea of wearing them.
Would you wear Glass if they looked better?