Google has announced the end of the Google Glass Explorer Edition alpha, following over a year testing out the augmented reality device with thousands of users and hundreds of developers.
In that time, Google has updated the hardware, added a mono-earphone and worked on the GlassWare software platform, however this is only the alpha, and the whole thing may be changed in the next year by the new team, Nest Labs.
Google Glass will now be worked on by Tony Fadell’s team, who previously worked on the smart thermostat and smoke detector. Nest Labs was bought by Google in 2014 for $3.2 billion (£2.11 billion).
Fadell is no stranger to highly anticipated products, previously the vice president of the iPod division in Apple between 2006 and 2008, and credited as one of the “founding fathers of the iPod” before moving to his own startup Nest Labs.
Google Glass still requires a lot of work to be a functioning product people will actively buy and use, Fadell will need to make it less intrusive in public, alongside making services much more useful on augmented reality.
Augmented reality is already excellent for navigation, but Google needs to work on notifications, potentially adding another way to respond to notifications without speaking into the microphone.
Having Nest Labs on the project might give another eye to the augmented reality discussion, moving away from the over-dependance on Google services and voice recognition, which Google has been pushing on all its platforms lately.
There is a question to be answered on whether augmented reality can actually be a mainstream product, the beta showed large interest, but will it be enough to eclipse the smartphone or smartwatch market, it is still not known.
Apple’s marketing chief Phil Schiller had less than stellar hopes for Google Glass, saying in an email “I can’t believe they think anyone (normal) will ever wear these things.”