Google has finally found a way to make its Internet-connected eyewear look cooler and more stylish.
Luxottica Group SpA, the world's largest eyewear company based in Milan, announced on Monday, March 24, that it had signed a deal to design, develop and distribute new versions of Google Glass.
Andrea Guerra, chief executive of Luxottica, told the The Wall Street Journal in an interview that the tech giant "has opened up a new potential opportunity of use of glasses." Guerra revealed that the eyewear company has been teaming up with Google for the said project since last year.
This new arrangement between Google and Luxottica came after the former's arrangement with VSP Vision Care Global at the beginning of the year to provide optometrists prescription lenses, subsidized frames and training on how to correctly fit Google Glass to users.
Furthermore, the deal with Luxottica is also part of Google's plan to erase consumer's doubts and uneasiness with its innovative eyewear. Astro Teller, who manages the development of Google Glass at Google X, the company's innovation lab, described the deal with Luxottica a "very large hump" to encourage more people to use the device. "This is a fashion problem as much as it is a technology problem," he explained.
Guerra revealed that Oakley and Ray-Ban designers, among other eyewear brands under Luxottica, have been working hand and hand with Google designers to make an eyewear that will integrate the technology of Google Glass, but not merely putting the device on top of Luxottica eyewear.
J.P. Gownder, Forrester Research analyst who studies wearable-computing devices, said that the new deal between Google and Luxottica is a big accomplishment for the former. "In one fell swoop, Google could get Glass in front of tens or hundreds of millions of consumers in an eyewear-appropriate setting," he said.
Moreover, with over 5,000 LensCrafters and Sunglass Hut retail stores in the US, Luxottica will also be a huge help to Google in terms of the device's distribution, Guerra added.
With 30,000 U.S. eye doctors and 60 million people vision plan holders, VSP Vision Care Global is also a big aide for Google in selling the Google Glass nationwide.
Clearly, Google has been reaching out to eyewear giants for help to fight the negative feedback it has been receiving about the device.