Is Google Glass Dead?

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Google Glass is the wearable technology from the search engine giant to try and simplify your life. It was first introduced at Google I/O 2012, Google’s main developer conference where the company talks about its upcoming projects, events, and products. Google I/O 2013 went similarly, with the company detailing the latest advances in the Glass project and its app partners. Currently Glass is in the “Explorer” phase of development, requiring people to sign up for a prototype version of the hardware.

However, over the course of 2014, Google has begun to focus more on its Android Wear program. Android Wear is a program fronted by Google with the cooperation of tech giants like Samsung, Sony, and LG in an effort to create smart-watches. These watches will compete with the upcoming Apple Watch in the wearable technology category. Android Wear seems to compete directly with Google’s own Glass. A move to keep Google Glass relevant would be to fold it into the Android Wear program, unifying all of Google’s wearables efforts under one section. But no effort has been undertaken that suggests such a change is happening.

Adding fire to the flame, no mention of Google Glass was made at the Google I/O 2014 conference. Instead, Google focused on the Android Wear program. Also, Google cofounder Sergey Brin, who had worn his Google Glass to many media events, recently appeared in public without a pair. Google has also announced that a public, final release has been delayed to 2015 from a previous target of 2014. Lastly, Google’s 4 physical Google Glass stores, called “Basecamps” have recently been shut down, making sales online-only. Google has pointed out that most of the sales were online already, so they preferred to focus there.

So far many people think that the device is dead. App developers seem to think so. In a survey of 16 third-party Google Glass app developers, 9 had ceased development of their apps. an additional three chose to develop for business only. One of the most notable is Twitter, which stopped developing their app on October 28.

But why did this innovative device suddenly grind to a standstill? Perhaps part of the problem is the cost, a steep $1500. People may not be willing to pay so much for such a problematic prototype device. But the main problem facing Google Glass is the social stigma it has received. People fear Google Glass users due to the device’s ability to record everything. The invasion of privacy is too great.

However, Google isn’t letting Glass go quite yet. It has recently filed patents for a number of redesigns for Glass, suggesting that a new version for a consumer release may be iminent.  Also, rumors suggest a new model of Google Glass will ship with a more powerful chip and increased battery life. So Google Glass is not dead just yet.

When Kraemer 8th grader Brian T. was asked about Google Glass, he said, “It looks interesting, and many people have it at USC.”