New Google Glass on deck via hardware trade-ins

Google adds referrals as well as a trade-in program for its Google Glass Explorer program. New hardware on tap soon.

Google said its Google Glass Explorer program, an effort to cultivate developers and garner feedback on its high-profile wearable computing effort, will now have a referral program as well as a one-time hardware trade-in.

In a blog post on Google+, the company said that it will allow its Glass Explorers to refer three friends to join the program. These referrals can buy Glass online and have them shipped.

google glass look

More importantly, existing Explorers will get a hardware trade-in program. Before 2013 runs out,

All Explorers will have a one-time option to swap out their existing Glass for a new one. This hardware update will allow your Glass to work with future lines of shades and prescription frames, and we’ll also include a mono earbud.

Explorers who bought a device before Oct. 28 are eligible.

The trade-in program indicates that Google will make new specs that will be able to have prescription lenses.

Google Glass has come a long way since the initial launch. A ZDNet pair sat dormant for a few months, but I checked out the updates over the weekend. A few observations:

  • The apps were more useful. 
  • Google Glass connects with your smartphone more easily. 
  • Navigation has improved.
  • But the devices still seem far removed from being a mass market effort.

As Google noted, Glass is a work in progress. The company does seem to be seeding an ecosystem, iterating and working toward a more polished effort.