Google Glass isn’t dead: project graduates from X Labs as iPod visionary is placed in charge


Google Glass v2 1

Some non-believers might be writing Google Glass off at this point, but Google thinks it’s far from dead. In fact, the company today announced that it was “graduated” from Google X’s experimental labs and is getting the spotlight in its own little division.

That not enough to convince you they’re going full steam ahead with Glass? The person they put in charge of the project is none other than Tony Fadell. You may remember his name as the founder and creator of the Nest Learning Thermostat, made by the company Nest which Google acquired in 2014.

Tony_FadellMore than just Nest — which is an awesome product itself — Fadell is also widely recognized as the man responsible for the birth of the Apple iPod, the most iconic portable music player in the history of electronics. His resume is legit, folks, and Google’s asking him to work his Midas touch on a product that could definitely use a lot of tender love and care.

While he will be the overseer of the team, he will still work in an independent capacity at Nest. Ivy Ross, the Google Glass team’s long-time head, will continue in her role, but she will report directly to Tony Fadell.

With this news also comes word that Google is looking to wind the Glass Explorers program down. The program was never meant to be taken as a product launch, but more of a product test to help nurture and grow the platform for an eventual consumer release (hence why they slapped a ridiculous price tag on it to attract only the most enthusiastic users and developers).

Google says the last day to get your hands on Google Glass Explorer Edition will be January 19th, 2015, so you’ll want to go scrape up $1,500 and order one ahead of that date if you don’t already have one.

Unfortunately we’re not yet sure what that will mean in terms of being able to get a transparent look at how Google moves the platform forward. If they’re doing away with the Explorers’ program then it could dash the hopes of seeing it evolve in the public eye like we’re used to (sort of the way Google’s being open-ended about Project Ara and its growth cycle). Google says they’ll definitely be giving us a peek when they’re ready, but we imagine it won’t happen with the same frequency that it did with the advent of the Explorers’ program.

But if this is what has to happen for the project to finally see its first consumer launch and make strides to becoming a mainstream viable platform for smart computing, then we couldn’t be happier to hear it. Google says they have plans to release a “new” version of Glass in 2015, but we’re not exactly sure what that new version could be.

google glass prototype patent image 1

We speculated they could be looking to revamp the wearable after a patent for an alternate Google Glass design surfaced last week, though there’s still no telling if that patent has anything to do with Google’s future plans.

Suppose there’s only one thing we can do: patiently wait for Google to reintroduce Glass in a way that can get everyone excited again. In the meantime, feel free to take a look back at our Google Glass review to see how the platform held up in its early days as we look forward to a brighter future.

[via Google+]

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. You actually believe that it isn’t dead? Come on, it’s all nice words for *translate* it doesn’t work, its dead. Why in the hell would someone would wear glasses for fun, while some wear contacts or have eye-surgery. Makes no sense and the functionality is also very limited.

    1. The Glass Explorer program was an external beta test, instead of the commonly known internal beta test. What better way to see what a product can actually do and what people actually want, than to give it to the brightest minds from various walks of life, right? Now that Google is ready and knows what consumers want to do with this type of technology, they’re going to do what needs to be done to bring it to market now that the testing and research phase of the product is over and done with. I really don’t know why this is so hard to grasp.

      1. So, what did they find consumers want to do with them? Things they can do people can do with other wearables and their watches and their phones and portable cameras for a fraction of the price and not look like a creepy dork in the process or get banned from entry to places they want to go. Their value and desire to be used by the public is not as easy to grasp as you seem to think.

      2. I’m with you. This was obviously a beta run. I really think after hearing the feedback on how it looks, I would imagine they are going to start incorporating it into some better looking frames and lower the price a bit. It makes every bit of sense that they arent giving up on it.

      3. Early-adopters are geeks, they don’t know what “normal” people want. This project is just a big fail, limited functionality, limited use and why would one with great eyes wear something on their nose, it will never be a mainstream product. I already said it from day one and it seems I was completely right.

        Please don’t give me that answer: that’s what they said about smartphones. Yes, but I can put my smartphone away, a smartphone isn’t placed on my head or in front of my eyes. It’s a completely different product, which still lacks a killer feature.

      4. It wasn’t a beta test – it was an experiment.

        The results are in and they show that as a product there is no future for it.

        Like all good failed experiments I’m sure there is plenty of other knowledge gained, but Google Glass is out there with Wave and other tried-failed-dropped Google tech.

    2. Umm… why would they be pulling in top talent if it is dead?

      Glass is maybe ahead of it’s time, but it is the direction mobile tech is inevitably headed.

      1. totally agree and couldnt of said it any better

      2. Says who? Don’t make your opinion mine, a product can only succeed if it goes mainstream, which is almost impossible for a product that you’ll have to wear on your nose. Good luck selling that!

        1. I am not trying to project my opinion on you. It just seems weird to me to proclaim that Glass is dead in an article saying that it is graduating from X Labs, pulling in top talent to lead the project, and releasing a new version this year.

          1. Marketing 101? Keep up the pretense. Blackberry tried hyped marketing tactics like this for years to act like life was still being breathed and yet still failed, and continues to fail. Just a thought.

      3. Pulling in top talent? Or burying it with a sideways move and no firm commitments.

        The ability to bring products to market quickly and let them fail is what I admire about Google. They shot for the moon, missed, but have learned lessons that will be valuable in other areas and may lead to Glass 2 further down the road.

        Glass v1 is dead as a dodo. The updates will dry up and any new incarnation is likely to be using different hardware and an OS that’s not backward compatible.

  2. I’d prefer it over a smartwatch if only it was cheaper.

  3. Funny.. I think it is dying a slow death. Wearables came on the scene and POW… 1-2-10 different wearables and more coming all in a matter of months. GG out for a while and is dying on the vine, sold cheap on eBay, closing their GG stores that no one went to, stores and shops and theaters banning them, people getting accosted for wearing them.

    It was a nifty idea, but I suspect this is not going to go to far in the long haul.

  4. Highly disagree. Dead and almost buried. Called this 2 years ago. Perhaps it has a home in very special applications, but this isn’t meant for general consumption.

  5. I just think its the wrong time….I seen someone had a patent for an actual contact lens type of “wearable”….Maybe Apple? Cant remember, but I think that would have a stronger market since its not so….noticeable?? I think it would be cool to one day, make ANY glasses a wearable. Not sure how, but maybe just like a connection with a pre-made glass with a HUD built in? i sound like an idiot haha

  6. Just as virtual reality in the 90s was cool and new but not ready for primetime, and *now* we’re seeing it come to fruition, I think we’ll see Glass-like technology take the same route. It’s new and exciting now, but the size, price, and practicality will never take it much beyond a neat concept right now. I think of Glass as being the great-granddaddy to the smart contact lenses we’ll see in the 2020s and 2030s.

    For now, Android Wear is doing most of the cool things I wanted to do with Google Glass anyway.

  7. I think that folks miss the point of all this – Google would be stupid to stop working on Glass. The work they do here will provide a foundation for the future of truly intelligent ‘wearables’. Glass is more useful than smartwatches. It’s about timing…

    1. Agreed. Timing is a huge part of the issue. Cost is huge as it is 3x the cost of a phone which can do 10x more. It is a good and interesting idea, just not the right time – and people simply don’t seem that interested.

  8. Wait till they incoprate the google glass on tv shows now that would get ppl talking lol

  9. Don’t kid yourselves. It’s dead.

    The tech might show up a few years down the line in something else, but they’ve realised that it’s just not compelling enough to wear something that makes you look a bit silly.

  10. Google glass is a modern day farce. Who in their right mind is going to pay over $1000 for this? The answer? Not many–that’s why it was pulled. Reduce the price to 200$, allow it to link up with the LTE networks, and sell it thru a major carrier. Google is really sleeping on this one.

    1. Why is this so hard for people to grasp… “Glass Explorer” was not a consumer product… It was an EXPERIMENTAL project, a public BETA. That is now over and the next phase is consumer…. Expect $299 to $399 price tag for actual consumer products. Probably even less once the dust settles.

  11. My God pull the plug already, it is becoming like a bad horror movie, you know the outcome, the dialog is horrible and the actors stink.

  12. To those starting to recite Glass’ eulogy, remember that there is more to this than just Avg. Joe walking in to BestBuy one day, staring at Glass, and wondering what the hell he is going to do with it.

    There are numerous industries – healthcare, tech labs, manufacturing (of all kinds), warehousing, service industries of all kinds, retail, aviation, hospitality, heavy industry, shipping/logistics, etc, etc. – where Glass is already being used on a daily basis, and these use cases will only grow.

    Glass, or something like it, will obviously continue to be used by all of these industries, whether or not an Avg. Joe version ever ends up in your BB down the street. Glass is here to stay.

    For example…


    1. The eulogy has already begun. Across the web, people are seeing the writing on the wall & coming to the same conclusion – and you don’t have to be a tech pro to come to this conclusion. Ever since this story hit the web last week, the doom and gloom of GG started to spread and now most web stories seem to concur that GG is on the way down. Nice idea maybe ahead of it’s time, bad pricing model, to few adopters, to few supporting devs, to limited use for as complex as it is. Heck, even Sergey Brin stopped wearing them around.

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