Google stops selling its biz-grade augmented reality specs
In case of apathy, break Glass
Google has halted sales of its business-grade augmented reality specs, the Glass Enterprise Edition.
An updated support page dated March 15 states that support will end on September 15, after which time users can keep running the wearable devices but no software updates will be delivered.
Even the Meet on Glass vid-chat app Google pre-installed on the devices won't be supported. Google helpfully advised the app "may stop working at any time after September 15, 2023."
System images for the devices will remain online until at least April 1, 2024. But after that, Google Glass Enterprise Edition users could be in the dark.
Google's announcement doesn't say why it's shuttered Glass. The Register supposes the product wasn't sufficiently profitable, or widely used, for the ads and search giant to keep it alive at a time it's ejected 12,000 workers.
Tech specs have proven a tough business for Google over the years.
The company showed off its first Glass device in 2012 and suggested it as a device for consumers – an idea that produced a fair bit of "the smartphone is doomed … DOOMED!" prognostication.
Google predicted it could shift ten million units of the device but got nowhere near that figure.
The company then pivoted – or should that be re-focussed – its efforts by announcing Glass Enterprise Edition. A hardware upgrade followed in 2019.
Now, Glass appears to have been shattered in both its business and consumer incarnations.
- By 2026, total AR/VR goggle sales will trail a single quarter of current tablet shipments
- It's 2023, let's check in with the metaverse... Nope, still doesn't exist
- Tencent has its Meta moment as CEO Pony Ma outlines 'immersive convergence'
- Hybrid work not working? Try building an 'intraverse' to fix it, says Gartner
The Register is aware of similar products, like Microsoft's HoloLens, finding modest success in fields like architecture, engineering, and product design.
But the world's most prominent use of the tech – the US Army's plan to deploy thousands of HoloLens devices – has experienced delays and had its funding pulled by Congress after it failed user acceptance testing when soldiers became physically ill using it.
The Army is now looking for a device that don't make warriors' heads spin.
Google Glass enterprise will not be that device.
Maybe Meta's Oculus is up to the job: as of two years ago Zuckerberg's baby had hit Google's target of ten million headset sales. And the artist formerly known as Facebook continues to sink billions into metaverse research, even as it fires over 20,000 workers. ®