Teller talks at SXSW about the demise of Glass, and the value of failure:
[Glass] was one of those things that we had to get out into the world as soon as possible. We learned a lot of things about the tech, like the battery. It was also valuable for social testing, and I’m really grateful for all of the fearless pioneers who went on that adventure with us…The great decision was to do the Explorer program. The thing that we did not do well is that we allowed, and sometimes even encouraged, too much attention to the program.
If you’re not failing at least some of the time, you could be learning faster. It’s not about going out and not having these bumps and scrapes, it’s about getting full value from them.
The company says the Explorer program will close and it will stop taking orders for the product but it says it will continue to support companies that are using Glass. Google insists it is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product, saying it will focus on “future versions of Glass” with work carried out by a different division to before.
The Glass team will also move out of the Google X division and become a separate undertaking, under Ivy Ross.
A Glass Explorer, Spencer Kleyweg, reports that the Google Glass Basecamps in Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and New York are closing. The Basecamps served as a place for Glass users to get support for their devices, as well as for potential customers to see the device demonstrated in person. Google does not release a statement regarding the closing.
Reuters reports that nine of the 16 app Glass app makers contacted said they’d abandoned their projects, mostly because of the lack of customers or limitations of the device. Three more have switched to developing for business, leaving behind consumer projects. —including a guy who won $10,000 for his efforts. Tom Frencel, the Chief Executive of Little Guy Games:
If there was 200 million Google Glasses sold, it would be a different perspective. There’s no market at this point.
The Glass Collective, a venture effort to fund apps for Glass, invested in only three or four small start-ups by the beginning of this year. Three of Google’s key employees on the Glass team have left. One source tells the publication that a consumer launch has been delayed, possibly till 2015. Glass Head of Business Operations Chris O’Neill:
We are completely energized and as energized as ever about the opportunity that wearables and Glass in particular represent. We are as committed as ever to a consumer launch. That is going to take time and we are not going to launch this product until it’s absolutely ready.
The Motion Picture Association of America and the National Association of Theater Owner announce that Glass cannot be used in theaters as part of an updated “anti-theft policy.
As part of our continued efforts to ensure movies are not recorded in theaters … we maintain a zero-tolerance policy toward using any recording device while movies are being shown. As has been our long-standing policy, all phones must be silenced and other recording devices, including wearable devices, must be turned off and put away at show time. Individuals who fail or refuse to put the recording devices away may be asked to leave.
The South African online store Takealot becomes the first retailer in Africa to sell Google Glass. The price is R26,999 ($2,560), about $1,000 more expensive than it is in the United States.
After conducting a series of underwater tests, NASA concludes that Glass is not a useful tool for astronauts in its current state due to its limited battery and difficulty of use:
Google Glass is a promising technology but needs to overcome battery life, display viewing and scrolling issues in order to be an operational useful tool.
Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) uses Glass’s Step by Step feature to allow people to navigate the public transport system easily. Glass users can also access route maps and departure times. A spokesperson for the RTA says that this feature is aimed mainly at tourists:
Google Glass is not officially launched in UAE but there are people who are using it and there a lot of tourists who bringit from their countries where it is available. Our idea is to stay ahead in terms of technology and provide the services required through all the tech channels available. We are the first city in the region to provide transport-related information through Google Glass.
Babak Parviz, Google X director and one of the creators of Google Glass, leaves to join Amazon. Amazon and Parviz both decline to comment about his role in the company.
A studio called This Place releases MindRDR, a free application for Glass that uses the head-mounted Neurosky EEG biosensor to control Glass with the user’s thoughts. The sensor uses brainwaves to determine what part of the display the user is focusing on. The hardware can be purchased for £71 (about $121).
Andrew Paterson, senior technology officer at the Information Commissioner’s Office in the UK, writes in a blog post that businesses using Glass are subject to laws in the country regarding how data is stored and secured:
Organizations must not lose sight of the fact that wearables must still operate in compliance with the law and consumers’ personal information must be looked after.
A Google spokeswoman responds:
The fact that Glass is worn above the eyes and the screen lights up whenever it’s activated clearly signals it’s in use and makes it a fairly lousy surveillance device.
Glass is not mentioned once during Google’s two-and-a-half hour keynote speech at its annual I/O convention. This prompts speculation on social media sites like Twitter that Google wants to phase out Glass. A spokesperson for Google tells TechCrunch:
Glass announced all of our news earlier this week and ahead of I/O so the Chrome and Android announcements could take center stage today and tomorrow.
A study conducted at the University of Massachusetts Lowell shows that Google Glass and other wearables can pick up four-digit PINs typed onto an iPad from 10 feet away. A special software designed for the study allows PINs to be stolen even if Glass is not facing the screen of the iPad. Xinwen Fu, a computer science professor at the university, tells Wired:
Any camera works, but you can’t hold your iPhone over someone to do this. Because Glass is on your head, it’s perfect for this kind of sneaky attack.
Google announces that Glass will ship with two gigabytes of RAM instead of one. This causes controversy because Explorers with old devices are not offered an upgrade.
Glass launches in the United Kingdom at £1,000 per device, which marks the first time Glass is available outside the United States.
A Google Glass app for medical professionals raises more than $7 Million. The creator, a San Francisco start-up named Augmedix, gears the app towards doctors. It allows doctors to cut down on paperwork by recording their patients’ exams. Afterwards, the doctor can use voice commands to pull up information. By cutting down on paperwork, medical professionals can be more efficient. Augmedix is a certified partner of Google’s Glass At Work program
Google announces Glass at Work Certified Partners, a program which encourages companies to develop Glass applications for business and industrial use. One of the first partners is Augmedix, which provides applications to help doctors view patients’ records in the Glass display while attending to them.
Glass is featured on a Daily Show segment called Glass Half Empty. The segment features sarcastic commentary on discrimination faced by Explorers:
Magellan was an explorer, Chuck Yeager was an explorer. You guys have a f-cking camera on your face.
Graham is interviewed on stage at the conference about emerging trends in technology. Asked whether he thinks there will be a ‘year of the wearables’ where gadgets like Google Glass take off, he advises ignoring individual trends and looking at commercial uses for wearables:
Never mind these fads…Just think about all the industrial applications, all the people who can’t carry a computer in their hands, mechanics who are climbing around in airplanes, or emergency workers, it’s going to be so useful to just display all the information.
He says there probably won’t be a point where wearables suddenly become widely used:
It will probably be this gradually rising curve.