Google Stops Sales of its Glass Enterprise Smart Glasses
Google has now killed off its last Google Glass product, the Glass Enterprise Glasses, bringing to an end its tryst with augmented reality hardware.
In a post on its website, the tech giant said it is terminating the sales of its Glass Enterprise smart glasses.
By 2015, Google Glass had by and large gone off sale to consumers with the company focusing on its Enterprise variant targeting businesses and developers. However, even the enterprise play did not gain much traction and those efforts came to naught.
Company has now announced that it is finally stopping the Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, the last edition of the Glass that was still going on sale. A help document by the company says support for the smart glasses will come to an end by September 15th this year.
Google says the devices should work even after the September date although there are no plans to release any software updates. The support cutoff will also include the built-in Meet app as well as the repair service. On its support page, Google has cautioned that app could stop working “any time after September 15, 2023.” Google also added that it will continue replacing the devices within the existing process until this date.
Google is no longer selling its Glass Enterprise smart glasses according to an announcement post on its website last week. Support for the software also comes to an end in September.
This marks an end to Google’s first and most recognized smart glasses product. The Glass Enterprise succeeded the lightweight Google Glass smartglasses product which projected tiny-based info on a transparent screen appearing in the user’s field of view.
Google first launched the Google Glass product for early adopters and developers and initially retailed at $1,500. It was a hit with tech enthusiasts at the time.
The product was backed by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page but it failed to break into the mainstream market. Its built-in camera raised privacy concerns and the product was subsequently widely ridiculed.
By 2017, the product was already being pitched as an enterprise tool for performing tasks such as streaming healthcare appointments or worker training on the factory floors. The most recent version of the hardware came out in 2019 and cost $999.
Google’s winding down of the product comes at a time when its peers are ramping up their XR hardware investments. Both Meta and Apple are developing virtual reality and augmented reality hardware that will, no doubt, be more sophisticated than Google Glass.
Meta forayed into the smartglasses market with the Ray-Ban Stories which featured cameras without display. Zuckerberg has said he wants the company to eventually build Google Glass-like smart glasses.
Apple is also secretively working on a virtual reality headset with color passthrough capabilities that will offer mixed reality functions, enabling users to see and add digital elements to the outside world.
Microsoft already has the HoloLens mixed reality headsets that provide mixed reality functions. However, earlier in the year, the company laid off some of its staff working on its XR projects. HoloLens creator Alex Kipman also left Microsoft in 2022.
However, the termination of Google Glass does not necessarily mean that Google will be quitting the augmented reality or the smartglasses market segment. Last year, the company demoed a new pair of smart glasses capable of translating and transcribing speech in real-time. Google also assured that it would continue testing its AR glasses prototypes publicly.