Tags: Google | Glass Explorer | Internet | privacy issues | wearables

End Of Google Glass Sends Company Back To Drawing Board

By    |   Friday, 16 January 2015 01:29 PM

This week Google announced plans to end individual sales of its two year-old Google Glass "Explorer" program and to restructure the entire Glass program, but the company maintains the move is not the death of the controversial technology.

"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. As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we've outgrown the lab and so we're officially 'graduating' from Google[x] to be our own team here at Google. We're thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality," the company wrote yesterday in a blog post.

"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.)," continued the post.

The device, which allows individuals to connect to the Internet via eyewear, was hampered from the beginning by complaints about privacy and a lack of practical usage.

Google plans to sell the Explorer program to companies and developers for work applications, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Few are mourning the death of the Google Glass, and some are even cheering the Google's decision to shelve the device.

"Google Glass may have appealed to a bunch of socially clueless 'Glassholes' who were oblivious to our privacy rights, but the device fulfilled no real consumer need. I'm only surprised it took them so long to kill the program as we know it," John M. Simpson, the director of Consumer Watchdog's Privacy Project, bluntly stated in a press release.
Consumer Watchdog, a longtime critic of Google Glass, issued a report last April asserting that it "threatens the privacy of both people whose images are captured unbeknownst to them and the user of the device."

However, many are examining aspects of the program's development and marketing to glean lessons from its failure.

"However, I can see how smart glasses will improve on both counts. The idea that Glass represents — allowing you to ingest digital information at a glance — remains powerful. Even though I gave up on wearing Google Glass pretty quickly, I did find it helpful in situations where I wanted to be online yet didn't want to be interrupted — while cooking or cycling, for instance. I could easily look at the list of ingredients in a recipe by tilting my head upward, or shift my eyes to check my speed on a descent," wrote Rachel Metz in MIT Technology Review.

"Whatever happens to Glass now, I still see it as a noble experiment on Google's part. They tried to find out how far we could go with a wearable device and what society was willing to put up with. It turned out we weren't terribly comfortable with it, especially the notion of the camera — even while we were seemingly fascinated with it at the same time," wrote TechCrunch columnist Ron Miller.

"Maybe the phone is good enough, but Google tried to push the boundaries, and even though I didn't like the end result, I still think it was worth the effort," he added.

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This week Google announced plans to end individual sales of its two year-old Google Glass "Explorer" program and to restructure the entire Glass program, but the company maintains the move is not the death of the controversial technology.
Google, Glass Explorer, Internet, privacy issues, wearables
564
2015-29-16
Friday, 16 January 2015 01:29 PM
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