Over the next few weeks, owners of Google Glass can invite up to three others to the Explorer program. Google also has some slightly different Glass hardware coming that will accept lenses; current owners can swap out their device if they want.

Google Project Glass in NYC

You still can’t get Google Glass in a retail store but more people can actually purchase the wearable device directly from Google. Starting in the next few weeks, Google is allowing each Google Explorer to invite three others to purchase Glass. In a Google+ post on Monday Google said that current Glass owners who paid $1,500 for Glass can also do a one-time hardware swap.

Theoretically, the new program could increase the total number of Glass owners by a factor of three. Since roughly 8,000 Explorers previously purchased Glass, that would mean around 24,000 people wearing Glass; a solid number of total users. Google initially limited the program to gather feedback and improve the product; something it does monthly with software updates.

But Google is improving the hardware too. In the post, it says:

“We want to say “thank you” for all the amazing feedback we’ve been getting, so later this year, 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. “

It sounds like Google has worked out the mechanism needed to accept prescription glasses. That’s good news because in my testing of Glass with my own glasses, wearing two pairs of eyeglasses is less than ideal. The mono earbud is something I didn’t see coming but it’s still welcome: People near me can hear Glass when it’s speaking.

New Glass purchases, or previous owners that swap out hardware, will be able to have the device shipped directly to them.

Updated at 2:08 pm: The article incorrectly stated that original Glass Explorers were required to pick up their Glass at a Google location.

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  1. Simon Phoenix Monday, October 28, 2013

    Google did not require original Glass Exporers to travel to a pickup location. I had the option of having mine shipped.

    1. Thanks for that, Simon! I removed that information and updated the article to reflect my inadvertent error.

  2. Wouldn’t the total number of Google Glass Wearers potentially increase by a factor of 4 because each current user can invite 3 friends? 8000 current users + 24000 friends = 32000.

  3. As another Glass Explorer, I did not have the option to have mine shipped (pickup required at one of 3 locations), so wonder if this changed at some point?

  4. Nikohl Vandel Monday, October 28, 2013

    so, i was just wondering, does everyone need to wear them or just those who have vision issues?

    1. How can you have found this thread without knowing what Google Glass is? To answer your question however, no one needs to wear them and they aren’t vision correcting glasses.

      1. =) i’m lucky and blonde like that. everyone has vision issues right now, it was an inside joke. =)
        it would be cool though if they offered them in the latest vision correction technology as well, though. 2 birds 1 pair of g+lasses =)

  5. Simon, Jim, and others: feel free to direct any spare invites into the program my way. In my mind, this is the ultimate device for being able to quickly record my twin toddlers when they spontaneously break into incredible acts of cuteness. To be able to instantly document their childhood (without having to find the smartphone that they’ve hidden from me) would be an immeasurably valuable experience.

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