Google Glass Is Dead, Long Live Google Glass

Google Glass is dead. In its current form, at least, the augmented-reality specs will no longer be sold to developers, early adopters and enthusiasts — and depending on how stupid you think Google Glass is, this news will either disappoint you or make you very happy.

According to a report from the BBC, Google "is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product", but won't keep making Glass in its current format and will not make it to a widely-available consumer iteration.

Glass will continue development within Google, but the team responsible for its eventual consumer-format creation will move out of the black-ops Google X division and into a different area run by ex-Nest CEO Tony Fadell, one of the brains behind the smart thermostat. There's no timeframe currently set for a future Google Glass to be released, though, so it may never end up seeing the light of day in anything close to its current iteration.

Orders for Google Glass' current enthusiast US$1500 Explorer Edition will close as of next week, but Google will continue to provide support for the products it has already sold and to the companies that have adopted it. [BBC]



    I don' think Google Glass is being killed off. It will be re-released once Google refines the device.

    The main objection and problem as far as I can determine from all the posts I've read appears to be around privacy and the ability for Glass to record. So why not disable that functionality. Surely Glass is a fantastic tool for augmented reality for which it only needs to see and hear but not record. Tourism, professionals, workers in general etc. could benefit enormously from the information that could be made available in our field of view let alone private individuals who would find uses that don't require recording capabilities.

    Last edited 16/01/15 12:45 pm

      The problem is for a lot of that though, the system needs to record and analyze data for that to work. It would rely on location, taking images to anaylyze the data and provide the appropriate layer.

      It's like the Facebook messaging app and everyone being in uproar because it wanted access to your phone's microphone.... because it needed it to make calls.
      Or people stressing about their phones tracking their locations... for displaying on maps and updating traffic data.

      We are in a world with a balance and flux of privacy, what is needed, and what can be used.

      Though my big concerns were similar to the ones raised. People being able to record and film in private without the subject knowing.

        Glass was pretty damn good for augmented reality (although you did need to look up and to the right to see it, so it wasn't an overlay). Some of that you could get without the camera (e.g. navigation display) but the camera was pretty instrumental for other parts (e.g. translation of things you are looking at).

        I think the privacy aspect could pretty readily have been overcome by simply wiring a tiny forward-facing LED into the power rail of the camera. Power the camera -> light comes on. Some extreme crazy people will pull apart the glass and modify it, others would just put tape over it. I think it would have addressed the issue well enough, though. Even better would be a mechanical shutter which closed over the camera when not in use (but there is more to go wrong in that situation).

        There were five things that made glass (the latest explorer iteration) a no-go.
        1. Battery life. Seriously, it was terrible. Six - seven hours with limited use.
        2. Heat. It got pretty damn warm on the side of your head.
        3. It was not a good hands free, and because it was basically voice input that meant sending messages with it was mostly terrible. It was great for sending an 'OK, great' message. Anything longer than 5 words and you may as well give up. (I am not sure if others experience this same problem, but it was a constant issue for me)
        4. It got in the way in social interactions. When having a conversation with someone and a notification arrives, it is hard not to automatically look: particularly when the feature arrived where it could detect you looking at the display and show the notification. (Prior to that, you needed to do a weird head-bob, which was much less automatic). Not only that, even if you're not looking at the glass and not getting notifications, the person you were speaking to would never be sure you were not looking. (If they were more common and people realised you needed to look up, I think people would be less bothered by it).
        5. Software. There just wasn't enough. I wanted to get all notifications from my phone, but I couldn't without 3rd party tools, and Google wasn't handing out API keys for the Glass Mirror API (the cloud-based API that was easy to to, vs writing an actual app to run on the glass) so several of the apps available you couldn't get to work because of the lack of API keys available to the developers.

        I think there was a heap of *potential* for Glass (although I only had it for a couple of weeks so didn't bother developing anything for it that I felt it was missing). However, I have found that a smartwatch (either Google Wear or Pebble) is much better for anything that doesn't require actually being totally hands-free. On a smartwatch, you can feel a notification when your wrist vibrates but it is really obvious to someone you are conversing with if you look. As such, there is never any question as to whether you are checking your watch (unlike with Glass where the screen is right next to your eye). Google Maps navigation on Wear is nearly as convenient as on Glass; if you're driving, it is right in front of you on your wrist on your steering wheel.

        Hrm. What I planned to be a brief response to the privacy thing became a review of Glass.
        Sorry about that.
        In case anyone was interested in a summary review of Glass:
        For $100, I would absolutely buy one. For $200, I would probably buy one. For $300, there is no chance I would buy one.

    The guy that brought the world Nest is now in charge of Glass. If people are happy enough to tell Google everything about their lives at home via Nest then I'm sure that Glass can and will reinvent itself. Innovation today has moved from Apple to companies like Google and Xiaomi.

    They can build an app ecosystem, they're Google.
    They can make it look nice.

    But the thing is, what's the actual use of Google Glass? That it's cool? When does one need computing on the run? Is everyone a fighter pilot needing a constant stream of incoming visual data?

      Agreed. Information overload. I also sit in front of a computer all day for work, i don't really want more screens in my face when not working.

    I wish everyone would stop being so whingey about the looks and camera. It is so frustrating that just because something is new, that you apparently automatically look stupid. In this instance we are actually delaying technological advancement because of an arbitrary idea of fashion. The other side is, anyone who is worried about being recorded or having your photo taken without your knowledge, get over it! I honestly can't fathom why that bothers people so much.

    In all honesty, I think people have made a massive mistake by trying to give Google Glass so much shit.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now