We posted an extensive report in November titled "Google Glass, a Failure until Further Notice." The report showed how developers were losing interest in the project and how the press kept hammering the project of late. The UK Guardian titled one report "Google Glass, a fascinating failure" and John Dvorak wrote a piece called "Rest in Peace, Google Glass: 2012-2014." In a second report on Google Glass back in December titled "Intel Processors will Power Google Glass in 2015," we noted that Google Glass was likely to shift gears away from being a consumer product to one primarily used in various specific industries. Today, Wall Street Journal's Alistair Barr continues with a new report on Google Glass 2.0 that confirms this direction for Google Glass. (View the Wall Street Journal video above by clicking on the arrow)
According to the Wall Street Journal, The new change coming to Google Glass 2.0 will usher in a new strategy for Glass that will shun large, public tests of hardware prototypes in favor of the approach used by Apple and Nest, which develop consumer gadgets in secret and release them as fully finished products.
Glass will be moving from the Google X research lab to be a stand-alone unit led by Ivy Ross. Ms. Ross and her team will report to Tony Fadell, a former Apple executive who heads Nest Labs, the smart-home device company Google acquired for $3.2 billion in February 2014. Mr. Fadell will still run Nest, but he also will oversee Glass and provide strategic guidance to Ms. Ross.
Google will stop selling the initial version of Glass to individuals through its Explorer program after Jan. 19.
At the end of the day, Google Glass is going underground. It doesn't mean the project is dead. In fact the Wall Street Journal's Alistair Barr noted that Ivy Ross made it clear that wearables were too important a segment to give up on.
That position is fully supported by a stream of new patents being filed on an ongoing basis. One patent that I added to the Intel story noted above points to adding biometrics to Google Glass and they recently won a design patent for a slightly more "normal" design of glasses getting away from the pirate look as noted below. Their project is also expanding into smart contact lenses and they recently licensed their technology to the eye care division of Novartis.
Yet in the end, we all know that Google had a field day getting free publicity for their stream of half-baked futuristic projects that captured techies imaginations over the last few years and now they have to pay the price for producing failures if not vaporware in some cases.
It's easy to talk up innovation – it's another to actually bring it to market in a timely manner and have the public fall in love with it. Other projects still in the air include skin ID tattoos, Project Loon (the internet air balloon network), Project Tango (a 3D smartphone camera) and Project Ara.
Google announced yesterday that Project Ara, the modular phone, will be field tested in faraway lands until it's ready for the elite geeks of North America. But something tells me that this project just might end up getting lost in a rain forest somewhere in South America. But keep the faith, they're still working on it … kind of … maybe … we'll see.