Skip to main content

Google kills off Glass Explorer program, but promises more to come

Google Glass Store sign
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Google wowed everyone with Glass when it first demoed the smartglasses back in 2012. Since then, the futuristic mobile computing glasses have raised the ire of bar patrons, restaurant owners, and non techies alike who see Glass as a major invasion of privacy. Google Glass was only available in limited numbers to select, hand picked participants in its Explorer Program who were willing to pay $1,500 for the honor of wearing Glass.

Updated on 01-15-2015 by Malarie Gokey: Added Google’s statement on the discontinuation of Glass Explorer Edition.

And now, that program is dead. A Wall Street Journal report states that Google will continue to sell the first version of Glass through its Explorer program until January 19, at which point, Glass will disappear from the store entirely. Only developers and businesses will be able to get their hands on Glass. In other words, Glass is going enterprise and leaving consumers behind — at least for now.

Google posted an explanation on Google+ and hinted at Glass’ future. “As part of this transition, we’re closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what’s coming next,” Google wrote, adding, “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).”

Google plans to offer a new version of Glass in 2015, but it has yet to announce a release date or even a roadmap for the new Glass. Google may be clearing out inventory ahead of the next-generation Glass launch. The company is known for quick, surprising product launches. This year’s Lollipop 5.0, Nexus 6, and Nexus 9 launches for example, were a total surprise. Also, former Apple executive and Nest leader Tony Fadell will join the Google X team that is working on Glass, so it’s clear the project is just getting started, it seems.

Meanwhile, others speculate that the company may not offer the next generation of Glass to consumers either. It seems that Google may prefer to test Glass out in private, away from the prying — and judgemental eyes  of the public — before it introduces a polished version for consumers.

Although Glass’ fate is uncertain at this point, the growing trend toward smartglasses and wearables indicates that Google’s smart eyewear could have a bright future — if they get it right.

Editors' Recommendations

Malarie Gokey
Former Digital Trends Contributor
As DT's Mobile Editor, Malarie runs the Mobile and Wearables sections, which cover smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, and…
Google’s new $999 augmented reality smartglasses are ready for business
google glass enterprise edition 2 product photography of the wearable

Google unveiled Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, a new version of its business-focused Google Glass wearable, on Monday, May 20. It ships with a faster processor, an updated camera and a $999 price tag. Similar to its predecessor, the new smartglasses are being marketed for the corporate user and are not available for the general consumer.

The new Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 platform which is designed specifically for augmented and virtual reality applications. According to Google, the new quad-core 1.7 GHz CPU processor is a"significantly more powerful" than the Intel Atom SoC in the previous Google Glass Enterprise model. Not only will this deliver better performance, but it also will increase the usage time wearers can eke out of the 820mAh battery. A new USB-C port provides faster charge times so a user can spend more time wearing the glasses and less time charging them.

Read more
Google and Qualcomm want to make more smart headphones with the Google Assistant
google qualcomm development kit assistant on headphones

Google wants to make it easier to create Google Assistant-powered earbuds and headsets, and so it has teamed up with Qualcomm to create chipsets that can help you keep the Assistant always accessible in your ear, but also make pairing with earbuds a much more simple process. It means your average $50 earbuds could have some smart tricks up its sleeves, and that you don't need to splurge on an expensive pair of buds just to access the Google Assistant on your phone.

These Bluetooth chips -- Qualcomm's QCC5100, QCC3024 and QCC3034 -- are built into a "Qualcomm Smart Headset Development Kit for the Google Assistant," which means it makes it dead simple for companies to implement the features into their own earbuds. It even comes with a reference design from Qualcomm and Google that shows off how one of these earbuds can be built with the chips inside.

Read more
There’s a new use for the failed Google Glass: Helping kids with autism
google glass monthly update october

For all intents and purposes, Google Glass has joined the ranks of the LaserDisc or Nintendo Power Glove among the once-promising gadgets which failed to catch on with consumers. After we had written them off as old news, however, Google’s ill-fated smart glasses may have finally found their ideal use case: Helping kids with autism in social situations.

“Google Glass is a lightweight, unobtrusive, augmented reality wearable device that is ideal for use with individuals who have often have sensory sensitivities,” Dennis Wall, an associate professor of Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Biomedical Data Sciences at Stanford Medical School, told Digital Trends. “It is adjustable, and can fit on children as young as three years of age. Many other smart glasses available today are heavy or bulky, and therefore are not practical for use with children.”

Read more