Google's most significant hurdle with its Glass wearable computer may be the social stigma that's associated with wearing an undeniably awkward-looking gadget on the side of your head.
The company knows this, and during the past couple of years since its initial release, Google made small aesthetic changes to Glass to make it look more like a "normal" pair of glasses.
In January, Glass got its first set of Google-approved "designer frames," and users were able to order prescription lenses. The frames cost $150, on top of the $1500 price of Glass. Eventually, Google did away with the additional frames charge, and now new Glass buyers get to choose from a number of stylish frames and tinted "shades" for free.
Today, Google announced the next evolution of Glass style in the form of a new line of frames and shades for women from designer Diane von Furstenberg. The new collection, which adds $300 onto the cost of Glass for a total of $1800, is a collaboration between the fashion designer and Google's lead Glass designer, Isabelle Olsson. (Check out the video below for more details.)
Personally, I think some of the new frames/shades are a bit gaudy, and they may actually make Glass look even more odd. Then again, I wear jeans, a t-shirt and a Red Sox hat every day, so what the hell do I know about fashion?
There's also an associated new line of Glass frames for men, which cost $150 on top of the price of Glass, for a total of $1650. The men's styles are much more tame, and they appear to be available only with clear "shades," which could account for the difference in price. I actually like the men's frames, and I wish I could buy them separately.
The computer component of Glass is attached to the Glass frames with a single tiny screw on the inside edge of the frames, not far from the display. Users can remove and replace the frames themselves with a special screwdriver. (The dark shades that come with Glass can be removed and replaced without the use of any tool.) But I do not see the option to purchase the DVF Made for Glass frames or shades without also buying the Glass computer, so it looks like current Glass owners are out of luck for the time being.
In related news, Google announced its first five official "Glass at Work" partners last week, and the company appears to be ramping up its related marketing efforts for both businesses and consumers.
Learn more about DVF Made for Glass on Google's website.