Google Will Let Anyone in the U.S. Buy Google Glass on April 15

Google Glass

Even if you don’t have a Google Glass Explorer invitation, you can soon get your hands on Google’s wearable computer. On Thursday, the company announced a limited promotion on April 15 that opens the doors to anyone in the U.S. to become an Explorer and get a pair of Google Glass with a free frame or shade. This news followed a Verge report that Google was considering such a promotion. Does this say anything about Google Glass in the consumer market? Perhaps. The company has steadily increased availability of Glass Explorer invites over the prior year, meaning that they’re less exclusive than they were prior. Some Google Play Music All Access subscribers, for example, could purchase Glass starting in December. At $1,500, these aren’t an impulse purchase, so I’m wondering if maybe nearly everyone who wants Glass at that price already has the product.

Read the full story at Giga OM, and the original report at The Verge.

Google Glass Promotion

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Google Asks Glass Developers To Start Working On Android-Based Apps Ahead Of Glass Development Kit Launch

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It looks like Google is about to unleash a new wave of more powerful applications for Google Glass. Currently, Glass developers can only build apps that are essentially web-based services that talk to the user’s hardware through a set of relatively limited APIs. At its I/O developer conference earlier this year, Google announced that it would soon release its so-called Glass Development Kit (GDK), which would let them build Android-based apps for Glass that can run directly on the device.

So far, however, Google hasn’t launched the GDK. Instead, Google today encouraged developers who are waiting for the GDK to start working on Android apps for Glass using the standard Android SDK (API Level 15) to try out their ideas.

As Google notes, developers can use the SDK to access low-level hardware to render OpenGL and use stock Android UI widgets, for example. Developers can also access the accelerometer of Glass through the SDK.

Glass, after all, runs Android 4.0.4, so it’s a pretty well-known platform for many developers. To help newcomers get started, though, the company also released a number of sample apps (a stopwatch, compass and level) today that highlight some of the things developers can do with Android on Glass. Over the next few weeks, Glass team member Alain Vongsouvanh writes on Google+ today, the team will also use these sample apps to “demonstrate the migration path between a traditional Android app and a full Glass experience.”

For Glass to reach its full potential, developers need better access to the device’s hardware, so it’s nice to see Google moving ahead with this. It’s still a bit of a surprise that Google hasn’t released the GDK yet. And the fact that it made today’s announcement indicates that it could still be a few weeks out. If you’re a Glass developer, though, now is probably a good time to start thinking about how you would use Android on Glass.

Stanford Human-Computer Interaction Expert Cliff Nass Dies at 55

Dr. Cliff Nass, a highly regarded professor at Stanford University who was known for his research on human-computer interaction and the impact of multitasking on cognitive performance, died from a heart attack this weekend. He was 55.

Cliff Nass

At Stanford, Nass was a professor in the communication department, as well as the director of the university’s Communication Between Humans and Interactive Media lab, known as CHIMe.

In a 1996 book he co-authored called “The Media Equation: How People Treat Computers, Television and New Media Like Real People and Places,” Nass explored how human interaction with computers compares with real social relationships, reporting “that people are polite to computers; that they treat computers with female voices differently than male-voiced computers.”

In a 2012 book entitled “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop,” Nass explored how humans “empathize with, argue with and form bonds with” computers.

More recently, Nass was tapped to help out with Google Glass and the search giant’s self-driving cars.

“Cliff used to joke that you know that a scientific discovery is important when a decade later people take it for granted as truth,” Jeremy Bailenson, Nass’s colleague and founding director of Stanford’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab, said via email. “When he first published the findings, Bill Gates championed the work as ‘amazing.’ Now, its impact can be seen so pervasively that we take social relationships with media for granted.”

More than just a brilliant mind, Nass was revered by his many students throughout the years. As another member of Stanford’s communication department described it, he embodied the role of quirky professor.

He was known for performing multiple tasks at once (even as he studied multitasking), and often wore comfortable sweatpants, accessorized with large eyeglasses and an infectious laugh.

Nass earned his B.A. in mathematics from Princeton University in 1981, and worked as a computer scientist at Intel Corporation before earning a PhD in sociology from Princeton. He joined Stanford in 1986. His Stanford bio also states that he was a professional magician.

Members of the Silicon Valley tech industry reacted on Twitter last night with the hashtag #RememberingCliff, while many in the Stanford community are leaving their remarks here.

On a personal note, I had the fortunate experience of intersecting with Cliff Nass over the past couple months as one of his students in an experimental research course at Stanford, where I’m currently enrolled as a graduate student. Our team has been focused on continuing Cliff’s research on multitasking and cognitive impact – a topic he was passionate about.

“With this research, it might take a long time to get to the answers,” Cliff said recently. “I have parents emailing me a lot, asking me, ‘Is this [multitasking] bad for my kids?’ And the answer right now is, ‘I don’t know. We just don’t know yet.'”

On a recent Friday evening, he took our group on a tour of VAIL, the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Lab on Stanford’s campus, where he and other researchers have been studying human behavior in an autonomous-car simulator. He patiently took the time to answer all questions, until it grew dark outside the lab; in Cliff’s view, no question was a bad one.

“I will remember Cliff as a person who made any room a happier place,” Bailenson said in a statement. “His brilliance was exceeded only by his generosity and warmth.”

Here’s a video, published in February of this year, in which Cliff discusses the psychology of digital media and its implications:

Correction: A previous version of this article noted that Nass was the first member of his family to go to college, as reported earlier by the Stanford Daily newspaper. We have removed the reference to this and apologize for the error.

Google Patches Major Glass QR Code-Triggered Exploit

Google Glass

Google has quietly patched a Glass security exploit that could have allowed hackers to take control of the wearable by showing it a QR code, the researcher who identified the flaw tells SlashGear. The exploit, discovered by Marc Rogers, Principal Security Researcher at Lookout Mobile Security, took advantage of Glass’ streamlined setup process that saw the camera automatically – and transparently to the wearer – spot QR codes in images and use them to trigger WiFi connections and other configurations. By creating malicious codes, and hiding them in images, Rogers was able to get Glass to connect to a compromised network, show details of all network traffic from the wearable, and even take full remote control. The exploit – which we referred to in our June interview with Rogers, though without specific details as Google and Lookout were still addressing the fix at the time – has been fixed as of Glass firmware XE6, released on June 4.

Read the full story at Slashgear.

An Italian Start-Up is Crowdfunding a $300 Google Glass Imitator

GlassUp

While Google Glass’s arrival date as a consumer-facing product remains something of a mystery, as does the final pricing structure, we do know it’s in the hands of only a few developers and it currently costs $1,500. This obviously set a challenge for a startup in Italy that thinks it can do better, and at a cheaper price point of just $300 with a March 2014 delivery date. They’ve just kicked off a $150,000 Indiegogo campaign to fund the devices, but claim also to have already found private backing. GlassUp is the name of this AR device and it promises a laundry list of services: Through its tiny on-glasses projector unit it will display: Emails, texts, and other status updates like calendar events and calls, Breaking news, Real-time feedback for sports activities, Turn-by-turn navigation instructions, Translations and more.

Read the full story at Fast Co. Labs.

You could have spent $16,000 on potentially fake Google Glasses, but eBay is no fun

Google Glass

You may not win Google’s contest that allows you the privilege of giving the company $1,500 for an early model of its wearable computing device, Glass, but that doesn’t mean you can’t own one, maybe. If you’re the risky sort who also happens to be rich — or at least irresponsibly spends large wads of cash — you can try your hand at bidding on a Glass over on eBay. However, the unit doesn’t exist just yet, or at least not in the seller’s hands.

In the auction’s item description, the seller says he or she has been selected as a Glass early adopter, and will be receiving a Glass at a launch event. Basically, it’s a pre-order auction, which isn’t uncommon — especially in the world of game console launches when the consoles have a limited availability. However, those auctions usually come with some sort of proof, like a picture of the pre-order receipt, whereas this Glass auction only comes with the hope of not being screwed over.

Google Glass auction

As the early Glass will cost $1,500, the seller began the auction at that price, and six days later the bid is sitting at around $16,000.

The lack of any actual proof isn’t the only thing that makes the auction suspicious, but Google’s contest to be selected as an early adopter is not over yet, and the company said it would let people know if they won sometime around the middle of March. That said, it’s possible that Google let a lucky winner know early, but is finding out worth $16,000? Just wait until the device hits retail, and record videos using your phone instead of your glasses until then.

Unfortunately eBay, as they usually do, pulled the listing a few minutes ago. So we’ll never know if this was a real pair of Google glasses that had escapes the clutches of Google’s product managers or if it was just someone trying to rip off a naive technology lover.