Google's announcement that it is withdrawing the company's Glass from the market for now may mark a humbling retreat by the company in its development of the much-ridiculed smart glasses.
Google previously announced that the device will be graduating from the company's research arm, Google X, into its own team at Google. In addition, Glass head Ivy Ross will now be reporting to Tony Fadell, the founder of now Google-owned Nest smart home company who helped in the design and development of Apple's iPod.
Google stopped selling the current version of Google Glass last Jan. 19, effectively ending the Explorer Program wherein users such as gadget aficionados and software developers, which Google called Explorers, purchased the device for $1,500 and gave the company valuable insights into the usage of the Glass as its beta testers.
Google has invested too much in Glass to entirely abandon the project. However, it seems that the company is at least pressing the "reset" button, as Google looks to re-think its plans for the device and its future moving forward.
"Google decided that they need to turn this product over to someone who knows how to bring a consumer product to market, both from a design perspective and a marketing perspective," said Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder, referring to Fadell taking over for Glass.
The Internet-connected smart glasses, which provides users with abilities such as snapping pictures by blinking or sending emails using voice commands, was the major topic of the annual developer conference of Google about a couple of years ago. In that same year, Time tagged Glass as one of 2012's best innovations.
However, Glass has become a case study on the risks of the development of hardware that has no clear purpose. The market was not entirely sure what to make of the device, which caused people to shun the Glass and its wearers.
According to Gownder, there is no vision on why people would need the Glass, which is a major problem for the device. Without a vision, people will begin to make their own assumptions, and the current thought of people is that the device is used to step over privacy limits.
Google continues to aim to become the gateway for how people live all aspects of their lives, including functions for searching, reading, socializing, exercising, shopping and even sleeping. However, to do so, Google has to dive into hardware, as technology and users move off from their computers and into other items such as smartphones and watches.
Attracting consumers to purchase hardware, however, requires the creation of devices that are not only packed with functionality, but also should have qualities such as coolness and beauty. Glass has somewhat failed in this regard, as most people see wearers of the Glass as "nerds." Glass wearers have even earned the name "Glassholes," and were routinely kicked out of places such as bars and movie theaters on concerns for the privacy of other customers and intellectual property violations.
Google is looking to release a new version of the Glass later this year. The market will have to wait and see if Google will be able to address all the concerns that have hindered the success of the device.