Google Glass Goes High Fashion

With Ivy Ross coming on board and Google Glass finally hitting the open market, Google’s message is loud and clear.

May 20, 2014 at 4:26PM

Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL) (NASDAQ: GOOG) is finally ready to start making some money from its Glass project.

In the video below, Motley Fool Analyst Lyons George explains how the search giant is getting ready to take it's futuristic project to the mass-market--including a move away from the exclusive "beta-tester" distribution model and a surprising new hire from the world of high fashion. With the wearable computing wars heating up all across Silicon Vally, this is the kind of news serious tech investors can't afford to miss.

A full transcript follows the video. 

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Lyons George: Hi, I'm Lyons George with The Motley Fool, here today to talk about the latest shakeup at Google, specifically what's going on with the Glass smart glasses project.

It was reported earlier this week that the Mountain View company quietly made their flagship wearable device available to anyone. Or, to put it better, anyone who's willing to shell out $1,500 for it.

Now, that's a big change-up from the invitation-only beta tester system they were distributing Glass under previously. That's change-up number one.

Today comes with an even bigger change-up. Late yesterday, the company announced that Ivy Ross, whose previous work includes experience with Coach, Calvin Klein and -- here's the real kicker -- she worked for one of the world's largest contact lens and contact lens product companies, will be coming onboard as the head of their wearable computing division.

Let's think about it. In a tech news cycle that's generally filled with data scientists and code nerds, other Einsteins, shuffling from one company to the next, the meaning of this hire, coupled with Glass's sudden "come one, come all" availability, is pretty clear.

Google is finally ready to start making some money off of this Glass project -- and that makes sense. With the global eyewear market at around $81 billion in 2011, and projected to reach $130 billion by 2018, it seems like a smart move.

But for a company whose history is rooted in search engines, it's also going to be a very tough one to pull off.

Aside from the entrenched legacy players in the fashion world, high-tech headgear is also being sized up by rival companies like Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), which purchased virtual reality headset maker Oculus Rift earlier this year -- it's a pretty crazy contraption; if you've never seen the Oculus Rift headwear, look it up!

In fact, a few weeks prior to Ross's hiring at Google, Google suffered a major loss when one of its key Glass engineers left the company to go work at Facebook on Oculus Rift. Add it all up, and the message here is very, very loud: This is, and will continue to be, a hotly contested space.

If you're interested in keeping up with that space, or anything that's going on in the tech world, go to Fool.com, enter these companies into your watch list, and we'll be sure to keep you up to speed. I'm Lyons George with The Motley Fool. Thanks for watching. Fool on!

Lyons George owns shares of FB. The Motley Fool recommends FB, GOOG, and GOOGL. The Motley Fool owns shares of FB, GOOG, and GOOGL. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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