The next phase of Google Glass’ expansion is underway this afternoon with an old trick from Google’s past.
The company has started sending out Gmail-like invites, giving current Glass Explorers the opportunity to invite one friend to become a Glass owner, too. There are currently in the neighborhood of 10,000 people that own Google Glass. About 2,000 of those pre-ordered it at the 2012 Google I/O conference, and the rest are winners of this year’s #ifihadglass contest.
The email specifically allows current owners to invite just one friend. That person has to be at least 18 years old, live in the U.S., and has to be able to pick up Glass in one of the three pickup cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles or New York.
The emails are real; Google employee Sarah Price has confirmed in a comment that invitees will have to pay for the device just like everyone else so far (and, I’d presume, at the same $1500 price tag). She also said, in a comment on this post, that this is an experiment and is not a case of Google clearing out unclaimed devices from the #ifihadglass group.
Another Glass Explorer, Bianca TeRito has posted a screenshot showing what happens when the blue “Invite” button is clicked. It leads to the form below, which asks for a name and email address of the invitee, your relationship to the invitee, and a short explanation of why the person would be a good Explorer.
This seems like very smart marketing on Google’s part. The use of invites only makes Glass seem more desirable and exclusive while it’s still in development. Google has said Glass won’t be sold publicly until sometime in 2014.
We’ve reached out to Google for more information, like how many invites are being sent out. We’ll update this if and when we learn more.
Postscript: Google replied to our questions, but only with a vague answer that these invites are being sent to “a small subset” of Glass Explorers.
Postscript #2: This experiment is over, at least temporarily. At 9:43 pm tonight, in another Google+ post, Google employee Sarah Price told Explorers that no more emails are going out with invites. (Of course, Google could always begin sending new emails at any moment.)