Rumors of Google Glass’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. Google Glass is not dead. It’s not hospitalized. It’s not gravely ill. It is not even convalescing.
In fact, it’s alive and well, hard at work and living in the enterprise.
The enterprise, you say? What came over it?
Google Glass had its day with the consumers and it was over it. It got tired of the ridicule, of the Glasshole remarks, of being accused of pretension. It didn’t need the headaches or being called the NSA of gadgets.
“Why you looking at me son? You better not be filming me, Glasshole.”
It decided to go off quietly into the sunset. Google shut down its Explorer’s program in January, that exclusive group, where for $1500 you could play and experiment with Glass — be a social lab rat. Glass didn’t like that role and it decided enough was enough.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that Glass’s boss had had enough too. The whole consumer thing wasn’t happening for Glass. Google knew it. The experiment seemed to burn out after the initial burst of excitement. The thrill was gone. It was time to move on.
Pichette was fairly pragmatic describing the project’s failings when asked about Glass during the January call.
“When teams aren’t able to [leap] hurdles, but we think there’s still a lot of promise, we might ask them to take a pause and take the time to reset their strategy, as we recently did in the case of Glass,” Pichette said.
But then he said something else, perhaps it was off the cuff, a bit of insight into how Google decides what to keep and what to discard. But it raised some eyebrows just by saying it.
“[A]nd in those situations where projects don’t have the impact we hope for, we do take the tough calls, we make the decision to cancel them, and you’ve seen us do this time and time again,” Pichette said on the earnings call.
That sounded more like a subtle threat, a warning that Glass needed to find its footing sooner than later — and Google was only going to give the project so much leeway.
That’s when Glass decided it was time to pivot. Surely, it had been working quietly with a bunch of companies even before the decision to axe the consumer program, people who saw commercial potential where others saw pervs with cameras on their faces.
“Glass is alive and well. Despite the CFO’s comments [in January], the Glass team is growing,” Kyle Samani, who is CEO at Pristine, a company devoted to commercializing Google Glass wrote in an email.
Samani surmised that perhaps Pichette was referring to the idea of a consumer product, but he saw Google steadfastly supporting Glass as a business tool.
“Google is working more closely with us than ever before and is committed to the success of Glass in the enterprise. They are supporting our aggressive growth plans actively,” he wrote.
Jay Kim, Chief Technology Office at APX Labs, a company that has developed an agnostic software development platform for wearables including Glass, told TechCrunch Google was still selling Glass in bulk to its partners.
Maybe that’s why Glass decided to go where it’s appreciated, and that’s business where users can walk around using Glass to do their jobs and nobody will beat them up or make fun of them.
People might actually get called out for not wearing it because it could help them do their job better.
“Hey Miller! Where’s your Glass? Don’t let me see you not wearing it again.”
Maybe even Pichette would see its value in a business setting. Perhaps under the leadership of Nest’s Tony Fadell, Glass would get the kind of attention it deserved. Maybe it would even flourish.
Nobody likes to be underappreciated, least of all Glass, so it’s moved to business.
And it’s doing just fine. Thanks for asking.