Google is to stop manufacturing Google Glass and end its Explorer programme, the BBC has reported. The search giant does, however, intend on continuing research and product development, which Nestfounder Tony Fadell will ultimately head up.
According to information garnered by the BBC, Google still intends on launching smartglasses to the masses, but that landmark moment appears to have just moved significantly further into the future with the news of the programme closure. Since 2013, developers have been able to purchase a pair of the wearables for $1,500 (£990), but that all ends next week. Google will apparently make sure that money already spent was not done so in vain, saying it will offer support for companies using Glass. Tesco Labs only this week launched its own Glass app.
Although this sounds like bad news for Glass, that may not be the case. Until now it has been the responsibility of Google X, the company’s moonshot sector responsible for R&D on autonomous vehicles and Project Loon. Neither of these exciting ventures are anywhere close to entering the mass-market — moving Glass out of the moonshot remit and directly under the control of Fadell – whose company Nest was acquired by Google last year – could well mean the path to consumers is being ramped up. It also means that Google has taken heed of the many, many, complaints that its vision of the future in fact makes anyone donning them look like a total Glasshole. And one that has little regard for your privacy (pre-emptive UK cinema bans did not scream astounding commercial success). In fact, the BBC reportsFadell as saying that Glass has allowed the company to learn “what’s important to customers and enterprises”. So, not looking/feeling like a total Glasshole.
We will watch this space with bated breath for Glass 2.0, hopefully a version that embodies some of the fashion-forward principles of the rather more well thought out Apple Watch.