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How Google stuffed up its glasses

by on17 November 2014

You can’t run hardware like software

Google appears to be seeing its wearable computer project Google Glass dying in front of its eyes. After two years, it seems that developers are losing interest in a product which Google will not put into the shops.

Like one of its software products which remains in beta all its life, Google itself has pushed back the Glass rollout to the mass market so many times that people are believing that it is never going to happen. Imagine you were a developer who wrote some code for the project after it came out. You would not have made any money from your app for two years and will not see any pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Other developers are saying that the chance of it becoming a consumer hit at this point are remote.

Of 16 Glass app makers contacted by Reuters, nine said that they had stopped work on their projects or abandoned them, mostly because of the lack of customers or limitations of the device. Three more have switched to developing for business, leaving behind consumer projects. Plenty of larger developers remain with Glass. The nearly 100 apps on the official web site include Facebook and OpenTable, although Twitter has defected now.

Several key Google employees instrumental to developing Glass have left the company in the last six months, including lead developer Babak Parviz, electrical engineering chief Adrian Wong, and Ossama Alami, director of developer relations. A Glass funding consortium created by Google Ventures and two of Silicon Valley's biggest venture capitalists, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Andreessen Horowitz, deleted its website. 

Google insists it is committed to Glass, with hundreds of engineers and executives working on it, as well as new fashionista boss Ivy Ross, a former Calvin Klein executive. Yet for some reason it is not putting the product out. Brin had predicted a launch this year, but 2015 is now the most likely date, a person familiar with the matter said. It will probably see the light of day at the same time as the Apple watch.

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