Google Discontinues Glass, Yes THAT One

Google Glass is one of the higher-profile flops from Google. The augmented-reality frames were meant to be something lightweight you wore to get information at a glance. It never got out of the "limited early adopter" stage for the general public. But quietly in the business realm, Glass succeeded. Until today. Because Google is killing off the Enterprise Edition of Glass. Samuel Axon at Ars Technica has more on this product you likely didn't even know still existed.

An updated version called Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 was announced in 2019, and that's the one that was discontinued. Sales ceased on March 15, and support ends on September 15, Google says. No further software updates are planned, but the end-of-support date is the deadline after which Google will no longer replace damaged devices. Glass headsets in the wild will still work after September 15, though, should businesses plan to continue using them.

Google hasn't announced any plans to re-launch the Google Glass brand after this, but the company is known to be working on other kinds of AR glasses for potential future release.

Ars Technica

Glass was from a time before the Apple Watch or any capable wearable. It was a novel idea to have a heads-up display but asking people to wear something on their face was (and still is) asking a lot. It wasn't for a lack of trying. Glass' introduction at Google I/O was incredible, complete with a skydiving live demo. Google was smart in making it invite-only at the beginning with an "Explorer Program". Google was dumb by charging $1500 for it. As an early adopter, I eventually got my invite but that price was far above my threshold on taking a flyer on the fledgling tech. The Explorer Program stopped a year later for a general on-sale but that died a year later in 2015.

In certain settings, the idea of a wearable display does make sense.

Meta is of course getting in on the game with their Quest VR headsets. To me, that's a completely different application and will go nowhere. Full VR is for gaming and has no place anywhere else. There will be no widespread adoption of VR in any other capacity. Ever. Full Stop.

Augmented reality (AR) is where the real potential is. Some cars have it with information displayed on windshields. Apple has been dabbling in AR for years with Memoji, the Measure app on iPhone, and LIDAR sensors placed into both the iPhone and iPad. Then there's the long-rumored AR headset Apple will release :waves hands: at some point. I'm sure Apple is hitting the same walls as Google and Meta have: how to get Normals to use it.

Consider this: cell phones were out for decades before their widespread adoption. The iPhone did not sell in staggeringly-high quantities until the iPhone 4. Enthusiasts be damned with the adoption of tech because if a product is going to be successful everyone has to want it. Smartphones, the Nintendo Switch, GPS, health & fitness watches and trackers are all products that fit the bill.

All those products have an obvious use case to get people to want to use them. So riddle me this: what is the use case to get your parents to don an AR headset? It's easy to think that tens of thousands in tech are working to answer that.