Google Glass: Who gets to explore it first, and why

A student charts details about which Twitter users won a Google Glass competition and the pitches that got them into the early user circle.

By Christina DesMarais, TechHive |  Mobile & Wireless, Google Glass

Google's #ifIhadglass competition has ended and just who will get the opportunity to test drive its upcoming Glass wearable computers is coming to light.

In February Google issued a call for "explorers" willing to pay $1500 to try out the computerized eyeglasses that take voice commands and replace many smartphone features. People interested in doing so had to apply via Google+ or Twitter using the hashtag "#ifihadglass" and say in 50 words or less what they would do with Glass. Within the last few days Google has been notifying some of the people who were chosen.

Want to know who they are? Andrej Karpathy, a computer science Ph.D. student at Stanford, has compiled a list of some of them: Twitter users who've been invited by @ProjectGlass in descending order starting with people with the most followers on the microblogging platform.

It looks like some very influential folks will soon be sporting Glass. Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Barney Stinson on "How I Met Your Mother," tops the list with 5.5 million followers and said he'd use Glass to let people see what it's like to act on the show's set.

With more than 5 million followers rapper Soulja Boy is next on the list and said he plans to wear Glass in an upcoming music video. And actor Alyssa Milano, with nearly 2.4 million Twitter followers, also will soon be wearing the high-tech glasses and said she'll use them on humanitarian missions.

So far the list includes 56 Twitter users with more than 100,000 followers, and while it might be tempting to think Google is skewing its invitations toward celebrities Karpathy's calculations indicate only 7% of the Twitter users who have been invited to try Glass have more than 10,000 followers and 61% have fewer than 1000 followers. Remarkably, 26% (more than 600 people) have fewer than 100 followers, so you can't accuse Google of slighting the average Joe.

Meanwhile, Google says some people who were invited to the program "slipped through the cracks" and will be disqualified.

According to The Verge, at least two Twitter users have had their invitations yanked.  "#IfIHadGlass, I'd throw it at your face. ._.," reads one. Another says "#ifihadglass I'd cut a bitch!"

It's a head-scratcher, and Google says it's looking into how the bad eggs were included in the mix. According to New York Magazine the company also is blaming an independent panel outside itself for choosing the competition's winners.

Could it have been that someone thought including tactless entries makes for good diversity? On the Project Glass Google+ page the company does say "We need honest feedback from people who are not only enthralled and excited by Glass, but also people who are skeptical and critical of it."

Regardless, expect to soon see these things being worn in the wild. Google is inviting a total of 8000 people to pick them up in person in New York, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. My guess is the inconvenience will give Glass newbies the opportunity for hands-on help getting started with the device.

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Originally published on TechHive |  Click here to read the original story.
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