Gadgets

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

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?

 

More about the companies and people from this article:

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

Warby Parker sells boutique-quality prescription eyewear for $95 through our website, www.warbyparker.com, and our stores and showrooms. Each pair features polycarbonate prescription lenses with anti-reflective and anti-scratch coating... read more »

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