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Google is ending its experimental Google Glass programme

The company insists it is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product, but will stop producing Glass in its present form.

Instead it will focus on “future versions of Glass” with work carried out by a different division to before. The Explorer programme, which gave software developers the chance to buy Glass for $1,500 (£990) will close.

The programme was launched in the United States in 2013. It was then opened up to anyone and was launched in the UK last summer. It had been expected that it would be followed reasonably quickly by a full consumer launch. From next week, the search firm will stop taking orders for the product but it says it will continue to support companies that are using Glass.

The Glass team will also move out of the Google X division which engages in “blue sky” research, and become a separate undertaking, under its current manager Ivy Ross. She and the Glass team will report to Tony Fadell, the chief executive of the home automation business Nest, acquired by Google a year ago.

The Glass project received the enthusiastic backing of Google’s co-founder Sergey Brin. He presided over a spectacular unveiling which saw skydivers jump out of an aircraft wearing Glass and beam what they were seeing to a conference in San Francisco.

Early users of Glass were very excited about the product, which enabled them get information in a small screen above their right eye, take photos and videos, and get directions. The technology blogger Robert Scoble said he could not now imagine living a day without the product, and was even photographed wearing it in the shower.

But he and others soon tired of Glass, complaining that it was not evolving in the ways that had been promised. There were also concerns about privacy and safety, with some bars and restaurants banning the use of the smart glasses on their premises.

Other companies have launched smart glasses and various other forms of wearable technology. But no single product has yet proved the major hit that technology companies are looking for as they seek out the next big thing.