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Google sending out invites for Glass Explorer programme

Whether or not Google Glass becomes a hit when it finally reaches the mainstream market later this year, one thing is clear: the company has mastered the art of promotion.

Just weeks after announcing its "If I Had Glass" campaign, a programme in which members had to apply for the right to purchase the $1,500 (£990) glasses, Google has announced the first batch of individuals tapped to become part of its Explorer Program.

Notifications of acceptance into the programme began appearing through hashtag notifications (#glassexplorers) to applicants on Twitter and Google+. Some of the applicants selected included Vitor Silva, who created a concept video to show how he'd use the device to watch sports. Yelena Podkolzina, meanwhile, promised to wear the device on her wedding day, and Redmond Burke crafted a video that showed how he'd use the device to improve his work as a pediatric heart surgeon. Andrew Vanden Heuvel also said he'd use it transform the way he teaches science.

At this point, Google is not providing Glass to businesses. "We also want to call out that we received great applications from businesses. At the moment, our Explorer Program is only for individuals. However, we are working on connecting with businesses in other ways," the Glass team wrote in a Google+ post.

While the exclusive nature of a programme that asks participants to apply for inclusion may seem elitist to some, the Glass team appears to understand how risky it is for someone to spend $1,500 on an untested device. In one Twitter message to new Explorer Program member Matt Littler, an actor who said he'd use the device to make a first-person action film, the Glass team wrote, "We're glad to have you on board and can't wait to see what you do with Glass, Matt. Thanks for believing in us."

The news comes shortly after US legislators instigated a discussion over the safety of using head-mounted tech like Google Glass while driving. In a statement, Google said it is "putting a lot of thought into the design of Glass because new technologies always raise new issues. We actually believe there is tremendous potential to improve safety on our roads and reduce accidents. As always, feedback is welcome." There is also considerable debate over whether Google Glass heralds the end of personal privacy.

To help whet our appetite for the upcoming augmented reality headset, Google demonstrated Project Glass at SXSW Interactive recently.