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June 24, 2014

Google Glass launches in the UK alongside four new Glass apps

Smartglasses now available to Brits for £1,000.

By Ben Sullivan

Google has launched Google Glass in the UK, selling the smartglasses for £1,000.

The devices can be bought by anyone over the age of 18 with a UK credit card and address and is available from today June 24.

However, the wearable is in a phase dubbed the ‘Explorer’ edition, mostly aimed at developers.

The smartglasses have essentially puts a transparent screen in front of the eye, using voice recognition to carry out functions like taking photos, checking email and browsing the internet.

Google Glass was first launched to ‘Explorers’ in the US in 2012, and it was last month when the Google Glass project was rolled out to regular US consumers.

When users join the Explorer ‘beta’ program, they get access to the device, alongside developer tools and apps available in the Google Glass app store.

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Google Glass can take photos with its 5MP camera, and record 720p videos. It has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, with 12GB of memory. The battery lasts for about a day.

Alongside the UK launch, Google also announced four new apps for the UK Google Glass market. They are StarChart, The Guardian newspaper, and Zombies Run.

Google Glass is part of a growing wearables market. IDC Research has predicted global shipments of wearable computing devices are expected to grow three times to 19 million units in 2014, reaching 111.9 million units by the end of 2018. Some major companies have started testing with Google Glass, including Virgin Atlantic which uses the device with first class passengers.

However, Google Glass has encountered criticism from consumers concerned with privacy and safety. It has been reported that Google has discussed saefety concersn with the Department for Transport, investigating ways that Google Glass can be allowed to be used on UK roads.

Glass has also encountered security concerns. Sean Newman, a security strategist at Sourcefire, said: "As we connect ourselves more and more to the Internet it’s important to be mindful of the risks and implications of new devices like Google Glasses. There’s a huge question of what the security implications of connecting these kinds of devices to the corporate infrastructure will be. For the IT team that is already defending their organisations from ever more sophisticated cyber criminals, wearable technology is just another attack vector that needs addressing."

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