Do not go gently into the good night: Google Glass gets put to sleep, new development in the works

A Google Glass user in Nepal on research expedition
Google will axe the sale of Google Glass Explorer from January 19 but is still hopeful a better version can be brought to life.

Has Google Glass died a natural death or is Google re-incubating Google Glass to give it a new lease of life? While the world is divided on whether Google is a failed project, what’s certain is the US$1,500 (NZ$1,926) Google Glass Explorer version will no longer be sold.

Google said the Google Glass development team is “officially graduating” from Google X, the home of Google’s blue sky research. “As part of this transition, we’re closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what’s coming next. January 19 will be the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition. In the meantime, we’re continuing to build for the future, and you’ll start to see future versions of Glass when they’re ready. (For now, no peeking.)”

Failed experiment?

Despite analysts viewing the Google Glass project as an experiment that has had its days, Google says its Glass at Work project has some “exciting days ahead.”

“Since we first met, interest in wearables has exploded and today it’s one of the most exciting areas in technology. Glass at Work has been growing and we’re seeing incredible developments with Glass in the workplace.”

In November, there were reports highlighting the impending ‘death’ of Google Glass, with Reuters citing staff departures and evidence of a string of defectors among app developers, as reasons why Google Glass is in deep waters. Read our story here

High hopes are pinned on the Google Glass development team leader Ivy Ross to come up with applications with wider appeal. TechCrunch describes Ross as having a “rich, non-tech background, having held several high-level marketing positions at companies such as Mattel, the Gap, Disney, Coach and Old Navy”. Ross also had a stint at contact lens manufacturer Bausch & Lomb in the early 90s, where she was Vice President of design and development for Outlook Eyewear.

She reports to Tony Fadell, whose smart thermostat business Nest got acquired by Google. Fadell was a former Apple designer, who helped designed the ipod, who also sold his smart thermostat company Nest to Google.

One of the decisions Google Glass needs to make is to get rid of the camera, Fast Company wrote.  “Fadell needs to rip out Glass’s camera. Because Glass isn’t just a technology problem, and it isn’t just a fashion problem. It's a social problem. Glass is freaking people out. And in case it isn't clear, it’s freaking people out because it’s pointing a camera in their faces.

Here is what some app developers and advance users of Google Glass would like to see in Google Glass 2.