updated 01:22 pm EDT, Mon June 23, 2014
Open beta Explorer program now includes the UK, participants still need to buy-in
Google decided to give customers on the other side of the pond a crack at Google Glass. The company said that is now offering the open beta Explorer program to residents of the UK. This expansion to marks the first time that Google Glass has been sold to residents outside of the United States. However, participation in the program still comes at a hefty price.
Much like it did in the May, Google is looking to deliver on the worldwide demand for the wearable device. Seeing the demand spike beyond on-hand availability after a single-day sale (that now appears to have been mostly a publicity stunt), Glass was able to be offered indefinitely in the open beta program after the company was able to replenish stock.
Cost for residents of the UK to get a Glass comes at a price tag of £1,000 ($1,700), $200 more than its price in the United States. All five of the colors that were previously available are being sold on Google Play, with a listed shipping time of one to two business days. Glass still comes with a free frame or shades, but the Titanium series of frames or sunglasses are available for an extra £175 ($297) or £120 ($204) respectively. UK residents need to be 18 to buy a Google Glass device.
The expansion of the program to the UK also means that another country faces a decision in how to deal with the privacy implications Glass brought to the US. The head-mounted display is considered both a boon and a hindrance, as many laws and public spaces struggle in how to deal with it. From recording or otherwise capturing footage or people that don't wish to be photographed, it causes Glass Explorers to be labeled and excluded. Several business placed outright or partial bans on the device, including the Alamo Drafthouse theater chain. It's also been subject to citations for distracted driving.
The extension of the beta program to another market comes without any news of a full-blown release any time in the future, as is typical of Google. Those on the fence about the program are able to test a pair during London Demo Days on June 27 and 28.