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Google invites Glass wearers to brave LA's beaches

Google invites Glass wearers to brave LA's beaches

Owners of the famously geeky glasses are invited to a run this weekend

Users of Google Glass will get to meet and compare their techie headgear this weekend at a spot where appearance is everything.

On Saturday in Los Angeles, the Internet company is holding a 3.6-mile run from its offices in Venice to the Santa Monica Pier and back. They'd better hope it's a cloudy day: Instead of sunglasses, runners will be sporting Google's face-mounted computer, Glass. (Though Google, conveniently, is now selling clip-ons.)

Anyone who owns one of the US$1,500 devices can participate. They'll even get to try out fitness software on Glass made by Strava, which makes a GPS tracker and performance analytics software for athletes. That way they can see how fast they ran while trying to be discreet taking celebrity photos.

Google must really want people to get on board with Glass. The device, though still in beta, first shipped to developers early last year and has generated tons of publicity, but the company's still pushing to get the product out in front of people.

Space at the event will be limited, Google said in a post on its Google+ page for Glass. "Join your fellow Glass Explorers for a 3.6-mile jog to the Santa Monica Pier and back while we take the latest Glassware, Strava, for a spin," says an invitation posted Friday on Eventbrite. The run starts at 9:30 a.m.

Who knows how many Glass wearers actually live in L.A. and would want to be seen running around in the conspicuous headgear. The gathering might make them targets for ridicule or worse: Some Glass wearers have literally run into trouble while wearing the unit out in public, partly from people worried about the product's video recording features.

Even in the tech hub of San Francisco, a wearer apparently was attacked this month for wearing Glass while walking through the city's Mission District. Gentrification in that area has caused some of its longtime residents to lash out against tech folks in general.

Google is not giving up, though. This week the company held a one-day online sale of the device to the general public, which ended in a sell-out, according to Google.

Events like the run this weekend should help the company get Glass in front of less tech-savvy people. On a warm holiday weekend at the beach, it may even look a little bit cool.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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