ZOMBIE Google Glass 2 FEEDS ON Italian BRAINS, says specs supremo

Techno-goggles comeback appears to be in the works

Italian eyewear maker Luxottica has been working with Google engineers to come up with a new version of Glass – adding further weight to the suggestion the project isn't truly dead.

The ad giant killed off Glass 1.0 sales in January after the unpopular program jumped the tracks. In March, Google's exec chairman Eric Schmidt insisted his company hadn't given up on the head-mounted computer, hinting at a Glass 2.0.

Luxottica's CEO Massimo Vian said on Thursday that his company planned to build the reanimated Glass. The Italian firm owns the majority of the world's eyewear market, including the Ray-Ban and Oakley brands.

"What you saw was version 1. We're now working on version 2, which is in preparation," he said at his company's general meeting, the Wall Street Journal reports. "In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear]."

Vian has visited the Glass team in California, and work is progressing on the next model, we're told. He declined to give a timeline for its release, but we may see a prototype at Google's I/O developer conference in May. Last year, Google tapped up Luxottica to design a stylish spin of its Glass 1.0 hardware, so the two companies were known to be working together on some level.

He also announced a new development deal Luxottica has signed with Intel. Vian declined to say exactly what the two companies are collaborating on, but said the first fruits of their labor would be revealed in February or March next year.

Normal glasses haven't changed much in design or capabilities in the last 100 years, so opening up a new technology arm makes sense for Luxottica.

Bringing some Latin style to the Glass design could make the specs a lot more attractive – the current model isn’t exactly ugly but isn’t going to win any fashion gongs. Luxottica can bring years of design skills to the project, and flog the thing at its 7,000 stores, which include Sunglass Hut, Lenscrafters and OPSM outlets.

Crucially, if the tech is unobtrusive, Glass 2.0 may calm people's privacy fears. This week Google admitted Glass was a privacy failure, but no one ever said the Chocolate Factory wasn’t willing to learn from its mistakes.

"The team is heads down building the future of the product and we're not commenting on rumor or speculation," Google told El Reg in a statement. ®

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