Google Glass is one of the first devices to come to the wearables market that is truly next-gen. While Glass is available to the public in a beta form called the "Explorer Program," it is not ready for the consumer market right now. Setting aside all of the criticism about it invading people's privacy, the number one problem Google will have when trying to sell the headset is the way the device looks.
I have had Google Glass for over a year now and have loved the whole experience so far. It has changed how I view my public surroundings; however I'm constantly reminded of the awkwardness that comes from wearing a weirdly shaped device strapped to my head. Normally people would not notice something on a stranger's face as they walk by, but because of the unnatural form of the headband in conjunction with the Glass device itself, it tends to stick out like a sore thumb. When first seeing someone wearing Glass, it looks like they are wearing oddly shaped glasses. When that person actually realizes that you are not wearing glasses and does a double take to try and comprehend what you are actually wearing on your face, they tend to focus on the camera or the large battery compartment sticking out from behind the wearer's ear. So the question that is formed, is how to make Glass look normal and attractive enough for the average consumer to wear and use?
When Google first starting rolling out headset to its first round of Glass Explorers, they included two different types of "active shades" for the user to wear with Glass. The first was a traditional dark sunglass attachment that slides in between the nose pieces. These shades made for a perfect companion to Glass as it made it look a bit more normal and it hid the fact that there was a camera and prism protruding from your head. The second lens was the same shape and look as the previous one except that it was clear lens. As more Explorers came into the program, I saw more people wearing the clear lens to attempt to make Glass look more like glasses.
Almost a year after the Explorer Program launched, Google has finally announced several partnerships with different eyewear companies so that they can make their own frames for people to buy along side of Glass. This was and still is a huge deal when it comes to Glass because it is allowing people to wear the device and not have to wear contacts. In addition to allowing more people to use Glass, these new frames have revolutionized the way Glass hardware looks and feels. It went from being a metal band that wrapped around your head with a computer on it, to being a fashionable pair of eyewear that actually enhances the way Glass and the user looks. Personally, after getting my own pair of these new prescription frames, I noticed a lot less awkward stares and even received several compliments about how Glass actually looked nicer and more approachable.
While these partnerships are a huge leap forward, this option still does not let you fully customize the look and style of Glass. Luckily, there is one Glass Explorer that is taking this task into his own hands. This Explorer is named David Lee and he has started GPOP. GPOP is a reuseable decal that adds a different look and design to your device. With GPOP anyone can purchase skins for the headset that can change the look of the outward facing part of Glass. If you do have Glass or plan on one day getting it, I highly recommend looking over the always evolving collection of GPOP. In addition to what they have on the store, you can download a template from the site and even design your own skin so that you can completely customize your Glass.
So, while Glass in itself is a beautiful piece of hardware that has been crafted to look amazing, it can become an eyesore to look at and can attract a lot of negative attention. As a Glass Explorer myself, I know first hand that every once in awhile I want to change up how my Glass looks. With the use of the different official accessories from Google I could easily hide Glass but with the use of decals from GPOP, I am able to change up the look of Glass for different occasions. Either way, Glass is still in beta and available for anyone over the age of eighteen and living in the United States. So if you want to be apart of the awesome ride that is the Glass Explorer Program, you now know how to customize the look and feel of this wearable device.
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