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Google kisses its Glass goodbye

barney google

There's a song, written way back in 1923. It's called "Barney Google with the Goo, Goo Googly Eyes and it was very prescient. Here's an update on one of the verses (with respects and apologies to the late Billy Rose).

Sergy Google — with the goo, goo, googly eyes,
Sergey Google — bet his Glass would win the prize.
He thought he could make it pay,
But the public looked the other way
from Sergey Google and his goo, goo, googly eyes.

Sergey Brin has finally been forced to bend with the wind, as it were, and has and given Google Glass it's long-awaited bye-bye buss on the botty. Yes, the Cookie Monster has, officially, given up on trying to sell its in-your-face and up-your-privacy specs - although, unofficially, the skids have been under the project for months now.

The devices will be withdrawn from sale over this weekend and will be consigned to Trotsky's favourite place, the dustbin of history, on Monday, January 19. It's the end of an era. Or is it? According to Sergey Brin the Google goggles will return, in due course and in a different form. Perhaps it's next iteration will be as a monocle. Lord Peter Wimsey will be pleased.

The future for Google Glass, if it has one, now lies elsewhere, away from the Google laboratory and within a new, independent business unit.
A Glass Explorer blog eulogising the development team reads, "Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk. Well, we still have some work to do, but now we’re ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run [and] you’ll start to see future versions of Glass when they’re ready". So far there has been no reaction from the software developers who took Google Glass at face value and paid US$1,500 for a pair of the hi-tech specs in an effort to help Google build a viable Glass developer community and ecosystem, but they won't be best pleased at being dumped.

Developers made sterling efforts to come up with some compelling Glass apps and services (of which the best and most interesting seem to have been in healthcare) but public perception of Google's glasses was almost universally negative. Indeed hostility to the devices reached such a level that some pioneering wearers of the specs were physically assaulted in bars, restaurants, on trains and buses and on the street. Even Brin stopped wearing the things and, unsurprisingly, the full consumer launch was put back and back again.

Now it is unclear as to whether or not a future iteration of the devices will ever be pushed out to the mass consumer market. Indications are that the next generation of Google Glass will be for specialist use in businesses and vertical markets such as the aforementioned healthcare and medicine.

That's because Google has well-publicised serious previous form in terms of compromising the privacy of individuals as it collects, archives and manipulates personal information and sells it on to the highest bidder. Google Glass was seen as a further development of that surveillance and it has paid the price. So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye and good riddance.

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