Google puts Glass on ice

Google Glass
Image: Google

Fashion-agnostic headset will be pulled from the shelves on 19 January

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16 January 2015 | 0

Google will stop selling its Glass head-mounted computer to the public on 19 January, as part of other big changes Google is making to the product’s programme.

On that day, Google will close its Explorer programme for Glass, the company said Thursday, adding that future versions of Glass will be made available “when they’re ready”.

They could be ready later this year as the company continues to work on the product, Google confirmed Thursday. The company will continue selling Glass to businesses and developers for work applications.

Glass will also be moved out of Google’s X research lab into a standalone unit. The unit will be led by Ivy Ross, an executive and designer who was announced as head of Glass last year. Ross and her team will report to Tony Fadell, who heads Nest Labs, which was acquired by Google last year, Google confirmed.

Glass will stay within Google and won’t become part of Nest, Google said Thursday.

“Google Glass committed at least two mortal sins,” said Ian Dodson, founder of the Digital Marketing Institute. “Firstly wearable technology has to be wearable and this certainly wasn’t.

“Secondly it was a walking privacy violation on so many levels. Would you feel comfortable sitting with someone or having a conversation with someone wearing Google Glass? Being photographed and or recorded is bad enough with the ubiquity of mobile phones but having someone looking through a viewfinder at you constantly is utterly freaky.

Google is full of very bright techies. Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should. I’m sure the knowledge gained from miniaturisation will appear in future products.”

Google first made Glass available to applicants through its Explorer programme in 2013. There was a larger public release last year – including in the UK. But in growing the programme, Google has faced questions about privacy and the best use of Glass. At CES this year Glass was a noticeable absentee from the show floor, indicating that it had been left behind by more exciting technologies like Virtual Reality.

During its short life span Google Glass was the subject of numerous parody videos, including this skewering on cable TV channel Comedy Central’s The Daily Show.

 

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