SAN FRANCISCO — Google has picked out 8,000 people who will be given a chance to don a pair of Internet-connected glasses and make a fashion statement likely to be envied by gadget-loving geeks around the world.
The pool selected by Google won a contest conducted last month requiring U.S. residents to submit 50-word applications through Twitter or Google’s Plus to explain how they would use a technology that is being hailed as the next breakthrough in mobile computing.
Prevailing in this contest might not seem like much of a victory if you aren’t a technology fan. The winners will have to pay $1,500 apiece if they want a test version of the product, which is called “Google Glass.”
They also will have to travel to New York, Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area to pick up the device, which isn’t expected to be available on the mass market until late this year or early next year.
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But getting a chance to be among the first to experience Google Glass is being treated like a hallowed privilege among the tech set.
The excitement stems from the belief that Google Glass is at the forefront of a new wave of technology known as “wearable computing.” Google, Apple and several other companies also are working on Internet-connected wristwatches, according to published reports that have cited anonymous people familiar with the projects.
Google Glass is supposed to perform many of the same tasks as smartphones, except the spectacles respond to voice commands instead of fingers touching a display screen. The glasses are equipped with a hidden camera and tiny display screen attached to a rim above the right eye. Privacy watchdogs, though, are already worried that Google Glass will make it even more difficult for people to know when they are on camera.