Rumors have been knocking around for a while now suggesting that Google intends to get into the retail business and set itself up some storefronts. One running theme attached to these claims was that Google really needed some in-person experience to sell Glass, considering both how unfamiliar products like it are to shoppers and the substantial sum of money Google’s been asking buyers to drop on the wearable. It still remains to be seen if any of that will pan out, but today we learn about a different way Google is tackling those issues with Glass, starting a new program to provide in-home sample headsets for potential shoppers to try on.
Select users who registered with Google to express their interest in Glass – and specifically, those who mentioned interest in the frames we saw introduced back in January that support prescription lenses – are being contacted by Google with this offer to let them try on a selection of Glass designs right in the comfort of their own homes.
The trial is free to participate in, with Google covering both outgoing and return shipping costs, but it places a $50 credit card hold until the hardware is returned. The kits users receive contain four Glass headsets, one in each frame style; as far as we know, there’s no corresponding program for shades or for the bare headset.
The hardware itself is interesting, too. The units included may be returns or otherwise defective models, but they’re clearly used. While the electronics are often functional, Google is physically destroying the headsets’ USB ports in order to prevent charging them up – so all you really get to see of Glass in operation is the low battery warning. That’s clearly a step to prevent users from taking advantage of Google’s program by “losing” a sample and getting a full-on Glass headset for just $50, but it’s still a little weird, Google going to all this effort just to show people how Glass looks and fits, and not what it’s actually like to use and interact with.
If Google opened this program up to more users, would you be interested in participating?