The company announced the hiring of a new boss for the project, Ivy Ross. According to the Google+ press release Ross' first task will be to try to answer, "Can technology be something that frees us up and keeps us in the moment, rather than taking us out of it? Can it help us look up and out at the world around us, and the people who share it with us?
Google shares were gaining 0.37% to $521.88 in pre-market trading in New York.
Ross says she has spent her working life "at the intersection of design and marketing, trying to answer questions like this in different ways, for different products." She has previously worked for famous fashion-oriented retailers such as Calvin Klein (PVH), Swatch, Coach (COH), Mattel (MAT), Bausch & Lomb, Gap (GPS) and Art.com. She is also a jewelry designer which hopefully will help change Google Glass' perceived looks from geek to chic.
Ross replaces Babak Parviz as head of the Glass project. As one of her first tasks, she will have to deal with replacing the project's lead engineer, Adrian Wong. He's leaving Google and heading to the competition -- Oculus -- a company Facebook (FB) is working on acquiring. Wong is a Cornell graduate and a former researcher at Sandia National Labs.
Ross will also have to address growing concerns over possible privacy intrusions, etiquette and ethics concerning use of the product in certain instances. A number of Las Vegas casinos have banned Google Glass in gambling areas. Google recently published a list of "do's and don'ts" when wearing Glass Explorer devices.
On her LinkedIn page Ross has been described as "one of nine executives selected by Fast Co. Magazine to represent the new face of leadership and selected by Businessweek magazine in as one of the 25 most innovative global business leaders working within a corporation."
Google Glass is a hands-free, wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display. Though the product, which sells for $1,500, is still in a beta development phase, Google just re-opened sales of the device to the general public earlier this week.
The product now comes in a multitude of choices, with better looking, lightweight titanium frames (currently a no-cost option), as well as $150 clip-on sun shades. Glass features additional options, including earbuds, cases and pouches at additional costs.
- - Written by Gary Krakow in New York.
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