A new report from The Wall Street Journal has revealed that Google is exploring ways to put Google Glass in optometry offices around the U.S. In an effort to make Glass more appealing to the layperson, and not just rich tech superfans, Google has apparently approached one eyewear company, VSP Global, about creating prescription lenses and unique designs for the wearable technology. Training has apparently already begun, according to VSP Chief Executive Rob Lynch, despite no formal agreement in place.
VSP apparently has a network of 30,000 eye doctors, with over 60 million customers enrolled in the company’s workplace and individual vision plans. With such an established base, Google Glass has a platform to potentially reach many more average consumers—it would certainly make for a compelling pitch at the point of sale from representatives. Getting prescription lenses and frames is already expensive as it is, so salespeople will certainly have a lot of convincing to do. But some optometrists are optimistic, maybe a little delusional, about Glass’s popularity.
“Down the road I think this technology is going to blow up,” said optometrist Matt Alpert, who is also on the board of VSP Global and early Google Glass explorer. “As soon as apps are developed that are relevant for your world, it will start to take off.”
Google recently outlined its Glass Development Kit, which allows developers to create much more immersive Glass experiences, so there’s definitely potential for the technology to evolve. Whether Glass will eventually “blow up” remains to be seen, particularly this early on into Glass’s development; it’s not even available on a consumer-wide level, and even then, people seem to be wary about what the wearable technology has to offer… not to mention the price tag.
Alpert does admit that until Glass can appeal to the average consumer, it’s a “niche early adopter product.” If it is to shake its geek image, Google will definitely need to make it less conspicuous on a wearer’s face, but that further brings up privacy concerns, which has surrounded Glass since day one. Not only that, but there are still social hurdles Glass needs to climb, especially since the product is so new and different.
But creating better designs and working to distribute Glass in more retail channels will help to increase the technology’s mindshare. Whether people will warm up to it, or be willing to have their prescription lenses attached to Glass remains to be seen.