Find the latest breaking news and information on the top stories, science, business, entertainment, politics, and more.

Google kills Glass Enterprise, but big tech’s AR dreams live on

After a decade-long run, Google Glass has come to an end, with the announcement this week that the tech giant will be discontinuing the business version of its augmented reality (AR) glasses.

Sales of Google Glass Enterprise have been halted as of Wednesday, although support will continue for another six months, according to one company announcement.

“After September 15, 2023, you can continue to use the Glass Enterprise Edition device and existing software. There are no software updates planned from Google,” Google said in a statement FAQ.

The company said broken devices can be replaced through September 15 through its existing process, which involves users contacting their distributors or resellers to submit a replacement request.

Google noted that third parties are responsible for maintaining their apps and that no further software updates from Google are planned. However, system images remain available on the system images pageuntil at least April 1, 2024.

Google Glass has never gained traction among users

Despite generating much curiosity and publicity, Glass struggled to gain widespread acceptance, in part because of a design that made it look more like an industrial gadget than a fashion accessory. In addition, the device’s ability to take photos and videos without others knowing about it contributed to its unpopularity.

Google Glass was largely discontinued for non-business consumers in 2015after which it shifted its focus to exploring the headset’s potential for businesses and developers.

Introduced in 2017, the first edition of Google Glass Enterprise helped a “variety of industries — from logistics to manufacturing, to field service — do their jobs more efficiently by providing hands-free access to the information and tools they need to get their jobs done. to complete. work,” Google claimed. “Employees can use Glass to access checklists, view instructions, or send inspection photos or videos.”

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, released in 2019, would “help companies further improve the efficiency of their employees,” according to Google.

However, among other things, the price has always seemed high for the device. While the original Explorer Edition, which cost $1,500, was a hefty price tag for a product that Google eventually admitted was essentially a prototype, the Enterprise Edition 2 didn’t get much cheaper ($999) and didn’t offer much more than the original version.

Tech companies continue to develop AR and VR devices

Major tech companies are still pursuing the concept of head-mounted visualization technologies, also known as smart glasses, augmented reality glasses, virtual reality glasses, and even mixed reality displays. While there is disagreement over how to label a particular device, industry observers commonly say that while VR presents an all-digital environment, AR overlays digital information over the real, physical world.

meta has launched Ray-Ban smart glasses with cameras but no screens. CEO Mark Zuckerberg has talked about a product line similar to Google Glass.

Apple is preparing a VR headset that can use outward-facing cameras to show the external environment, similar to a transparent lens.

Microsoft has HoloLens, its own augmented reality glasses for businesses. However, the company recently laid off part of the team that worked on it.

While Google has discontinued Glass, that doesn’t mean the company has given up on its pursuit of augmented reality. While some commentators argue that Google Glass shouldn’t be considered true AR since it only displays basic information, Google previewed another type of smart glasses in June last year, capable of real-time speech translation and transcription, and said it would continue to test prototype augmented reality glasses in public.

Copyright © 2023 IDG Communications, Inc.