Although a fair number of firms are competing in the wearable technology space, it’s fair to say that Google kicked off the arms race when they introduced the Google Glass. However, ever since the Glass was unveiled it has been restricted to a chosen few: only members of the Google family or carefully selected Beta testers were entrusted with this next step in portable computing. However, all that has changed: a recent post on Google Glass’ Google+ page extended an invitation to become a Glass ‘Explorer’ to the general public.


Now that the restrictions have been lifted, it might seem like anyone can strap Google’s latest computer to their head and go gallivanting. However, while the technology giant has loosened its grip on the ‘next big thing’, certain restrictions do apply. You have to live in the US, and you have to be happy to part ways with $1,500. It’s a hefty price-tag, especially when you consider that the Glass is still in beta.

I have to say, I think that it’s quite a canny move. Given the fact that Google is renowned for its ability to exhaustively collect data, I’d imagine that the original testing pool has been exhausted. As such, it makes sense that Google open the doors to a new wave of Explorers willing to expose bugs and generally push the device to its limits just to see what will crack.

You’d be daft not to think that there’s a marketing angle at play here also. While there will always be folk ready to hand over hard cash for the latest gadget, the high price tag ensures that the Glass will remain an exclusive luxury. I think we can expect to see a controlled product rollout, not dissimilar to Apple’s release strategy around the original iPod. Just when it seemed that everyone who could afford the original, had one, the iPod mini was released to capture the next wave of market share with slightly less disposable income. A range of solutions to fit your wallet size, essentially.

I’m looking forward to seeing the impact this wider product release will have, both for Google and wearable technology at large. The first half of 2014 has been a rocky period for internet technology, particularly around issues like internet users’ right to be forgotten and corporate net neutrality. It will be interesting to see what effect Google Glass has as it begins to penetrate into society outside of the Google bubble.