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Google Glass in public view

Wearable technology is on a quest to look good, with Google calling on perennially cool Ray-Ban to help give Google Glass a stylish makeover.

With a built-in camera and eyepiece, the first generation of Google's internet-enabled Glass headsets look futuristic but far from fashionable. They stand out in a crowd, which has brought unwanted attention to some early adopters - dubbed ''explorers'' by Google - who have been accosted in public.

Google Glass is still in an invitation-only test phase but is expected to go on sale in the United States this year for $US1500 ($1630). To prepare for this launch, Google has partnered with the Luxottica Group - the Italian company that owns Ray-Ban, Oakley and several other fashion eyewear brands.

Google says Luxottica will bring ''design and manufacturing expertise to the mix''.

Google will also call upon Luxottica's chain of retail stores to help bring Google Glass to the public. Luxottica has more than 5000 retail stores in the US, and in Australia its holdings include OPSM, Sunglass Hut and Laubman & Pank.

Google has also struck an agreement with US vision insurer VSP to make prescription lenses for Google Glass and reimburse some of the costs under health insurance.


Along with a fashion makeover, Google is also offering Glass explorers sage advice on how to use them in public. In a nutshell, don't be ''glassholes''. It comes as Google Glass has been banned from several San Francisco bars in a growing backlash against the privacy implications of wearable technology.

''Don't be creepy or rude,'' say the guidelines for explorers. ''Respect others and, if they have questions about Glass, don't get snappy.

''If you're asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well.

''Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other explorers.''