Google Glass is Gone…For Now

by Matt Klassen on January 20, 2015

For some it was the best of geek chic, for others the birth of a new kind of mobile monster, but regardless of what you may have thought of Google’s controversial Glass eyewear project, there’s no question that for the last few years it has had all of us talking. But despite the fact that Google Glass has largely been responsible for energizing the growing fervour around wearable technology, Google announced last week that it will be discontinuing its pilot eyewear project, promising that although this may be the end of Google Glass, it won’t be the end of the company’s efforts in this area.

In fact, while some speculate that Google has finally realized the world isn’t ready for such advanced eyewear, the company has announced that it is spinning Google Glass off into its own division, taking it out of the company’s advanced research and development arm, Google X, making it highly likely that an next generation version of this device will be released at some point.

But for now we can say goodbye to those aptly named “glassholes,” those lucky few who shelled out big money for that feel of elitism and social disconnection that can only be provided by some sort of cutting edge device. Now they only look like fools with a very expensive doodad on their heads. I’ll admit, however, that despite my personal feelings towards the controversial eyewear project, those people were fortunate enough to be part of something that will likely shape the course of wearable technology for years to come, the first to try a device that had just as much positive upside as it had creepy, privacy-invading possibilities.

The true reasons for Google scuttling its Glass project aside for the moment, there’s no question that the wearable pioneer device came with its own share of controversy, confusion, and contempt (but that’s nothing new for paradigm altering technology). For starters there were the myriad of privacy concerns, from the fact that users could record video whenever they wanted to the ability to snap pictures with the creepy wink of an eye. In limited release the early adopters came off as creepy technological perverts, and that certainly wasn’t good for Google’s image.

It didn’t help matters that said early adopters were more than happy to flaunt their newfound technological awesomeness, so much so that a new term, “glassholes,” was dubbed to describe those users would apparently forgot that they still had to act like civilised human beings, even with their new eyewear in place.

In fact, as one Google Glass user wrote of his experience, the simple fact is that the world isn’t ready for Google Glass and, perhaps more surprisingly, it may never be ready. “I’m not wearing my $1,500 face computer on public transit where there’s a good chance it might be yanked from my face,” Mat Honan, a Google Glass user, wrote in an essay for Wired. “I won’t wear it out to dinner, because it seems as rude as holding a phone in my hand during a meal. I won’t wear it to a bar. I won’t wear it to a movie.” He went on, “Again and again, I made people very uncomfortable. That made me very uncomfortable. People get angry at Glass. They get angry at you for wearing Glass.”

But as I said, the truth of the matter is that the creepy factor surrounding Google Glass likely had little to do with the search engine giant scuttling the project, for that’s really all it has even been, a project. Further, with news that Google is actually creating a wearables division to pursue the future of Google Glass means that terminating Google Glass in its current iteration is simple part of a transition, with the company taking the lessons it learned from its ongoing Glass trials and putting that into whatever it’s officially going to create.

For now, however, we can say goodbye to Google Glass, perhaps the most hated, most controversial, and yet most paradigm altering piece of technology we’ve seen since the original iPhone.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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