According to a Wall Street Journal report, Google is working with VSP Global to bring Glass to optometrists’ offices. We have learned from sources close to Google, however, that Glass does not currently have any partnership with VSP (yet). So while the two companies may be exchanging ideas, as the WSJ reports, no formal relationship between the two companies as been established so far.
A Google Spokesperson provided us with the following statement:
“We have said for some time that we are working to bring Glass prescription frames to our Explorers and we’ve created prototypes that members of the Glass team are actively testing. Beyond that we don’t comment on rumor or speculation.”
VSP is a U.S.-based group that provides vision benefits and services to over 60 million people. The company works with a network of 29,000 doctors and also owns Marchon Eyewear and Altair Eyewear, which design and manufacture eyewear.
This matchup between Google and VSP would make it easier for Google to bring Glass to users who need prescription Glasses. Google has never hidden the fact that it has been working on prescription versions of Glass and everybody who has picked up Glass has likely seen at least one Google employee who was wearing the company’s own prototypes. Google also specifically stressed that Glass v2, which is now rolling out to new and existing Glass users, was tweaked to make adding prescription Glasses easier.
Google, however, hasn’t officially launched prescription lenses for Glass. As Glass already comes with a sunglass attachment, adding a prescription version wouldn’t be all that hard, but it would hardly look stylish. There are, however, some companies that are already looking into manufacturing these kinds of lenses.
Just around the time Glass rolled out to the first group of “Explorers,” we also heard that Google was working with Warby Parker to make glasses that “look less like Geordi La Forge’s eyewear and more like something a style-conscious person in the early 21st century would be happy to put on his or her face.” It’s been relatively quiet around this collaboration ever since, but Warby Parker would be the kind of hip company Google would probably like to work with on this project. To get Glass to the masses, though, it needs a company with a network like VSP.
Update: We updated this post to note that Google and VSP don’t have any partnership yet and to include Google’s statement.
Image credit: Ted Eytan