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Consumers go hands on with Google Glass in Durham

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Google Glass allow users to access on-the-go maps, voice searches, video calls, photo sharing and other smartphone features. Google Glass allow users to access on-the-go maps, voice searches, video calls, photo sharing and other smartphone features.
DURHAM, N.C. -

Google gave consumers the opportunity to try out its innovative Glass technology Saturday at the American Underground in Durham.

The tech giant announced last month that it had selected the American Underground as one of seven Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hubs around the United States and Canada.

A Google for Entrepreneurs Tech Hub means direct access to Google developers, early access to Google products and mentoring opportunities. 

On Saturday, the company showcased Google Glass at the American Tobacco Campus, giving consumers the opportunity to get their hands on the innovative new technology.

The glasses, which are comfortable and lightweight, allow users to access on-the-go maps, voice searches, video calls, photo sharing and other smartphone features without having to look down at a device.

Google's Devin Buell said instead of looking down to check email, Google Glass allows the user to simply glance up.

The company says Glass is a liberating breakthrough that will make technology more convenient and less obnoxious in social situations than checking a smartphone to see what's happening in your digital realm.

"They can set their own preferences," Buell said. "They can say, ‘You know, CNN, I am interested in top headline stories, sports, entertainment.' Then CNN will send those snippets of information."

Controlling Google Glass is as simple as a tap or speaking to the device. By saying "Taking a picture," Glass will take a photo of whatever the user is looking at, that picture can then be shared on social media, emailed or sent as a text.

Since May, 10,000 so-called "Glass Explorers" have been invited to try Google Glass and develop apps for the technology. Only 40 people in North Carolina were selected to be part of the trial program.

The Glass Explorers are helping Google to work out kinks in the technology before Google Glass hits the market some time next yet.

While a retail price has not been finalized, the Glass Explorer editions sold for $1,500.

Google said even with the high price, it is expecting a high demand for Google Glass partly because it's less obnoxious in social situations than looking down and checking a smartphone.

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