Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) announced Monday that it has struck a deal with the Luxottica Group SpA (NYSE:LUX) (BIT:LUX). Most consumers haven't heard the name of this Italian company. Luxottica is the world's largest eyeglass company, which owns brands like Ray-Ban, Persol and Oakley. It manages retail chains like Sunglass Hut and LensCrafters. The search engine giant said that the Luxottica Group will design, produce, and distribute frames for Google Glass.
Google struggling to gain mainstream acceptance for Glass
It's Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)'s biggest effort so far to make its eyewear device attractive and popular among mainstream consumers. In January, the Mountain View-headquartered company signed a deal with the biggest U.S. optical health insurer VSP to offer subsidized prescription lenses and frames for Glass. Google is still struggling to define an acceptable market for Glass. Many bars have prohibited people from wearing it. Authorities have opposed the idea of driving with Google Glass. And recently, a patron in Ohio was interrogated by Homeland Security officials and was removed from a theater after putting on Google Glass during a movie.
Luxottica Group SpA (NYSE:LUX) (BIT:LUX) said it will make Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)'s wearable technology look less geeky. The two companies will work together to create innovative frames for Glass. Luxottica CEO Andrea Guerra said that a strategic partnership with Google is an ideal platform to revolutionize the eyewear industry, and meet the evolving needs of consumers worldwide.
Google to benefit from Luxottica's strong retail presence in the U.S.
The Internet-connected Google Glass costs $1,500. It has a camera that can take hands-free videos and pictures. The search engine giant has sold Glass only to about 10,000 people called "Explorers." Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) plans to release it to the general market this year. Google Glass has gotten enough jokes and bad press that Explorers have been routinely derided as "Glassholes." Luxottica Group SpA (NYSE:LUX) (BIT:LUX) aims to change the image of Glass with its stylish frames.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) will tap into the Italian company's more than 5000 stores in the U.S. to sell Glass upon release.
Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG) shares ticked up 0.34% to $1,161.84 in pre-market trading Tuesday.