Google Glass with prescription frame
The product in question

In what many people consider as a major blow to Google, the American tech giant pulls the plug on Google Glass, confirming that they will halt sales of it starting next week.  Besides that, they will also stop “Explorer” programme which was aimed at seeing how people will use the technology and harvest their feedback on it.

In an attempt to salvage whatever is left of the wreckage, the company insisted that they will not completely walk away from the project. Google will continue to invest in Glass at Work specifically for enterprise developers and companies. In addition to that, they stated that they are planning to release a new version of the wearable device “when it’s ready”.

The Google Glass team has been relocated from the Google X division and has become it’s own entity under the leadership of Ivy Ross. The team will under the supervision of Tony Fadell, founder of Nest Labs, bought over by Google last year. Despite the seeming independence, it is actually a step back for it according to industry experts. The fissure began with the departure of its greatest advocate, Babak Praviz. Then Google tried to get Intel into the game when Texas Instruments threw in the towel. Things aren’t looking up for the team. In November 2014, almost all app developers for the Glass stated that they have either abandoned it or scrapped their work due to lack of demand.

Some experts feel that Google is too hasty to market the Glass without many apps and usage for it. What’s more there is ethical issue because the Glass ‘s ability to record or snap photos which has irked many people that values privacy. Reportedly, some business establishments in the USA banned the device from its premises and Google was forced to issue a guideline for users, asking them not to be “Glassholes“. The strong nerd image did not help either, despite efforts by designers like Luxoticca (makers of Rayban and Oakley) to make it look cool.

Last but not least, the hardware pricing (RM5500) is quite steep with lack of apps support, hence less incentive for consumers. It is a sad day for the pioneering field of wearable tech.

Source: ZDNet & WSJ

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