Speaking at the South by Southwest music and tech conference in Austin, Texas, Google X boss Astro Teller - who glories in the title Captain of Moonshots - said the smart glasses project could have benefited from a bit of restraint.
"We allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program," Teller was quoted as saying by Reuters.
It probably wasn't a surplus of attention that foiled Glass, so much as a surplus of human beings using the platform. Launched in 2012, the Google headset was immediately beset by early adopters who leveraged the headset for their own creepy ends.
Within months of the launch of the "Explorer" pilot project, Glass users were caught engaging in bad behavior in bars and the porn industry was quick to get in on the action. The term "Glassholes" was coined to refer to early adopters of the headset, and eventually adopted by Google itself.
While Google put a lot of marketing behind the Glass project, concerns over personal privacy and content piracy gave Glass a bad image in the general public. The platform was pushed into permanent notoriety when it was lampooned by The Simpsons in 2014.
Google suspended the Glass Explorer program last year, ending development of the smart-specs. The platform is still technically supported for enterprise use, though developers have largely abandoned it.
Other vendors, however, aren't so eager to give up on the augmented reality idea. Sony has picked up the creepy ball and run with its own smartglasses project, while Oculus and Microsoft Hololens have put their own spin on headsets with augmented reality devices.
Glass is not alone amongst Google X projects that haven't panned out. Teller noted other ventures, such as Google's foray into assisted-driving cars, that were axed.
That project, he said, was abandoned because merely assisting the user was not safe enough - and entirely autonomous vehicles were more up to the Chocolate Factory's standard.®
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