On January 19, 2015, Google announced that they were withdrawing the glass from the market, thus ending the Explorer program where beta testers including software developers and gadget enthusiasts paid $1500(Which is the Google Glass price) to purchase the product and provide Google with real-time feedback. For a while the Google Glass has been the punching bag of the already much-maligned wearable tech vertical and many in popular media has been treating Goggle’s announcement as an obituary for the Glass. But is Google Glass really dead? Far from it, and following are the reasons why:
Companies do not create a dedicated corporate entity for a ‘dead’ product
After the death knell was wrung by the high and mighty of popular media, Google stealthily moved Google Glass out of the Google X Research Lab (as the name suggests it is Google’s R&D wing) and created a separate corporate entity to be overseen by Tony Fadell, former Senior VP of the iPod division of Apple and founder of Nest Labs, a company acquired by Google for $3.2 billion. Both of these moves suggest that Google has some major plans for the Glass that is to be revealed in due time!
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Google Glass is still being sold to developers and businesses
Google has stopped the Explorer program, however B2B sales are ongoing and developers are being encouraged to write apps for the glass. Companies have been founded, whose sole purpose is to write application code for the glass. For example, Brain Power is a startup that is building Glass software that will help autistic children interact with the world around them. Augmedix.com is building an app that will help doctors keep track of the medical records of their patients.
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Both the founders of these start-ups have stated that they have had clear communication from Google regarding the future of the hardware and they are continuing their development efforts. Clearly these are not signs of a product that is about to be deprecated!
Pulling the product from the shelf was the only way to move forward
When Google Glass hit the market, the hardware the Glass software ran on was already out of date. This is one of the main reasons why software updates have been few and far between and the last update was almost two months before the Explorer program was stopped. Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman said that Google had received the data that they had set the target for during the google glass explorer release and they are working on improving the consumer experience. I would normally react pretty cynically to such claims but Google has a track record of giving up on businesses that were doomed for failure. The corporate re-structure is a clear indication that the Glass is being revamped and will be available to regular consumers sometime on the near future.
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The sudden end that was brought to the Explorer problem is just a temporary blip in the process and Google is investing heavily on the Glass. It is only a matter of time before such efforts bear fruit!