Gadgets

Google jumps into bed with Ray-Ban maker Luxottica, a near-monopoly in eyewear

google glass prescription frame
Image Credit: Google

Remember when eyewear startup Warby Parker was supposed to make Google Glass less ugly? Well, that deal probably never existed, because Google has now partnered with Warby’s polar opposite: Luxottica Group.

Luxottica, famous for its monopolistic control of the eyewear industry — from insurance to the manufacturing of nearly every designer eyewear brand — has reportedly landed a deal to make Google Glass fashionable. Currently, Luxottica’s sole competitors are Walmart, Costco, and Warby Parker. Luxottica Group owns the optical departments at Target and Sears. It also owns Ray-Ban, Oakley, Sunglass Hut, Oliver Peoples, and vision insurance firm EyeMed.

Google already allows users to attach Glass to standard glasses, but with this new deal, Luxottica will “design, develop, and distribute a new kind of eyewear [for Google Glass],” Reuters reports. This means mainstream distribution, designer brand partnerships (think: Ray-Ban), and new designs are all right around the corner.

This isn’t the first time Google has publicly experimented with Glass fashion. The company released a series of four new Glass frames in January 2014 to target the fashion conscious.

Google’s Glass remains a highly interesting project in its current form, but it has also become the butt of many jokes, particularly when it comes to “glassholes” — a nickname for annoying Google Glass users.

But if Google has teamed up with a company that has been accused of monopolistic tendencies and is commonly criticized for artificially driving up the price of glasses, who’s the glasshole?

 

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