back to article Google stops selling its biz-grade augmented reality specs

Google has halted sales of its business-grade augmented reality specs, the Glass Enterprise Edition. An updated support page dated March 15 states that support will end on September 15, after which time users can keep running the wearable devices but no software updates will be delivered. Even the Meet on Glass vid-chat app …

  1. imanidiot Silver badge

    "Google's announcement doesn't say why it's shuttered Glass. The Register supposes the product wasn't sufficiently profitable, or widely used, for the ads and search giant to keep it alive at a time it's ejected 12,000 workers"

    Or Google is just doing what ADHD Google does and cancels a project. Because. Reasons. Ooooohhh Shiny, look over there! Look at this! Oooohhhh, look, it's my finger!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Google's announcement doesn't say why it's shuttered Glass...

      because that reason it that it died long ago, cruelly kept on life support to preserve the fragile egos of the projects founders. Now, as the bottom line of Google is finally being scrutinized by it's shareholders it can be quietly laid to rest while everyone is distracted.

      It was always the dumbest version of the idea of a wearable HUD in the AR era. It was a useless toy that made it's wearer into both a social contagion and surveillance drone. It even got some people punched in the face. It was never going to work. Meta is an anchor dragging whats left of the market segment down, and the quest is as doomed as Glass was.

  2. Tubz Silver badge

    Why reinvent the wheel, when we have had HUD technology for decades, how hard can it be to project data on to a visor style helmet HUD that doesn't make you sick, give data overload or makes you carry a 200KG supercomputer on your back. You don't need all the fancy gimmicks you see in sci-fi fantasy land like eye focus select, map showing friendly units and hostiles, ammo count in magazine, health stats etc, with simple voice activation or even just a plain old number touch pad on side of helmet and finger memory ? Think Aliens 2 with the C&C in the APC doing all the heavy data crunching and results sent over an encrypted distributed local network.

    1. jmch Silver badge

      "Think Aliens 2 with the C&C in the APC doing all the heavy data crunching and results sent over an encrypted distributed local network."

      As I recall, their head-up-displays and encrypted distributed local network encountered a few problems operating in an area with some sort of nuclear furnace generating lots of interference.

      Of course, crappy reception was the least of their problems!!!

  3. breakfast Silver badge

    Bad news for fans of the Augmented Reality Spectacle Enhancement but, although this first experiment in the region may have come to a close, I'm sure that future generations of technologists will bring us a bunch of ARSEs.

    1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge

      Especially once the Holographic Objective Lens Extension becomes available!

    2. IceC0ld


      but remember, here on El Reg

      the OFFICIAL acronym of choice is TITSUP

      but TBH, I'm damned if I can come up with anything, can I buy a vowel please LOL

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Twat-Inspired Tech Spectacles for Useless Prats?

        Needs work.

  4. Mishak Silver badge

    "support will end on September 15"

    And this is where legislation is needed - you market a product, then you will provide support for the people that buy it for its lifetime (defined in law, not by the company). Either that, or provide a full refund and compensation.

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: "support will end on September 15"

      you market a product, then you will provide support for the people that buy it for its lifetime (defined in law, not by the company)

      I once asked a kitchen product company about its "lifetime guarantee" for pans – specifically how did they define a pan's lifetime. The answer was "until it wears out", i.e. if the pan wears out in 3 months the lifetime guarantee has expired because the pan has worn out.

      1. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

        Re: "support will end on September 15"

        "We guarantee it has a lifetime."

    2. xyz123 Silver badge

      Re: "support will end on September 15"

      Compensation refund doesn't matter

      If forced, Google has given 100% refunds.

      The aim of bricking/abandoning devices is to take R&D tax write-offs for unproveable immense amounts, way beyond what you actually spent.

      If regularots come a'snooping...bribe them to look the other way.

      This is why Google's average "lifetime" for products has gone down from 4-5years to around 6months.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      That's actually a terrible idea.

      I can see the benefits of right to repair, but do you really expect the modern decedent of an arms manufacturer from the Boer war to "support" a nationalist militia that dug the rusted carcass of field cannon out of a field? How would that even work for software, which will never "wear out"?

      That will just mean the death of durable goods. I'd be in favor of google releasing an end of life firmware update to the community like they did for the first gen quest, but Google has supported this far past the point of reason already.

    4. jmch Silver badge

      Re: "support will end on September 15"

      "And this is where legislation is needed - you market a product, then you will provide support for the people that buy it for its lifetime (defined in law, not by the company)."

      Erm... I guess it depends what you mean by 'support'? No company is obliged to provide a call centre to answer your complaints, for example. If a product is defective, legislation is already in place for this. It differs by country but there already exists legislation that anyone marketing consumer appliances has to provide a statutory guarantee (which IIRC is 2 years in the EU). I'm not sure if the statutory guarantee is longer for white goods or vehicles. So if Google had sold me a glass last year and it breaks today, they are obliged to provide me with free repair, replacement or refund. Upgraded software isn't included in that as it is a changed functionality. Unless the original software as sold to me was not fit for purpose, they have no obligation.

      You could, of course, make the argument that a 'lifetime' of 2 years is too short, but that's another issue entirely.

      I'm also not sure if this issue would be covered since it is a 'business' model. Not sure if there are any statutory guarantees for products sold B2B rather than B2C

  5. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    I wonder...?

    If our Google overlords have had a 'heads up' (sic) of the Apple AR device that is rumored to ship this year and it has made them run for the hills?

    Personally, and I am NOT in the market for any of these things, I am surprised that it has lasted this long.

    It would be interesting to know how many they sold and how many of them are actually used on a regular basis.

    1. iron Silver badge

      Re: I wonder...?

      Considering the rumours that Apple is trying to get the price of their cheaper headset, due in 2025, down to the same ballpark as the Oculus Pro (£1,500 until recently discounted because it is far too expensive and not selling) I don't think anyone will be buying a lot of iGlasses any time soon.

      1. xyz123 Silver badge

        Re: I wonder...?

        based on each plastic wheel for the mac costing $499.99 EACH, AR glasses from apple will be lucky if they're less than 10grand.

        Some macbooks with worse specs than a business-level Dell PC are $15k.....

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: I wonder...?

          "Some macbooks with worse specs than a business-level Dell PC are $15k....."

          No, they aren't. Apple's prices are ridiculous, but if you're dishonest about what they really are, you're doing your own argument a disservice. The most expensive MacBook you can buy from Apple is a 16-inch machine with a 38-core GPU (I'm not sure how this compares to the 30-core version, but it is the most expensive), 96 GB of RAM, and an 8 TB SSD. Since you're using dollars, I'm assuming you're in the U.S., where that machine costs $6499. You can get a machine like that for less money, but it's not going to be the same as a business-level PC from anybody, either in price or in specs.

        2. Snapper

          Re: I wonder...?

          Biased much?

          Top spec MacBook Pro Apple M2 Max with 12‑core CPU, 38‑core GPU and 16‑core Neural Engine, 96GB unified memory + 8TB SSD storage is £5,624.17 + VAT/USD $6,848.83 (no tax added).

          Unless you have other, much more accurate pricing information of course, which I'd be happy to examine.

          Here's a link to a very recent comparison between a just released Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra with RTX 4050 GPU vs the lowest spec 16" MacBook Pro (with the smallest drive so 1/2 the speed of the next size up).

          The MacBook handily wipes the clock of the Samsung in most of the tests. Then they unplugged the PC from the mains and the laughing really started here in Snapper Towers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm guessing..

    .. it just didn't grab enough personal data for it to be worth it for Google..

  7. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    This obsession with "enhancing" our vision

    In Sci-Fi, it looks great. Holographic screens, near-weightless glasses that do real-time augmented reality without any lag, stutter or power issues, magical interfaces that interpret exactly each and every wave of the hand or keyword spoken to it and doesn't get confused by conversations going on around or in front of it, Sci-Fi shows the awesome power of what could be. If there wasn't that pesky thing called reality, that is.

    Reality means that you need a helmet on your head in order to have your eyes covered by a screen. Said helmet needs batteries, and those things are not lightweight. It mostly needs to be tethered to the workstation as well, or you won't be using it for long.

    And you can get physically sick.

    But the idea endures. Even when it has been killed by public apathy, like the zombie it rises again as soon as some new tech makes someone with deep pockets believe that it could be feasible.

    It's the tech that just won't die, because Sci-Fi makes it look so cool.

    Meanwhile, almost everyone is getting bored with Cortana.

    Go figure.

  8. localzuk Silver badge

    Bulky and annoying

    Just like VR, AR glasses are a bulky annoyance. Who in their right mind would be comfortable slapping something weighty (beyond the weight of a pair of normal glasses) on their face for their job?

    It just isn't a reasonable expectation, and I cannot see it being "long term" safe from a H&S POV either.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: Bulky and annoying

      Indeed, think how much a selling point lightweight lenses are for normal specs.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Bulky and annoying

      Well, plenty of safety equipment is bulkier and heavier than normal corrective glasses – some types of safety goggles, welder's masks, and so on. But I agree those are rather more compelling than most AR/VR use cases.

      I know, I know, we've all heard the proposed applications like inventory labeling and parts labeling and so on. But it seems few industries actually feel these are worth the expense. And for me personally, I'd rather look back and forth between, say, the engine in my truck and the pictures and diagrams in the service manuals, because I find actually having to think a bit about things rather than having them handed to me on a platter is useful.

  9. Howard Sway Silver badge

    Google Glass Enterprise Edition

    Who could have predicted the failure of a device that lets office workers view meetings and documents on a tiny screen just in front of their eyes, when literally every single one of those workers spends most of their day looking at a much larger screen on their desk that lets them view meetings and documents a bit further away from their eyes.

    Maybe Father Ted : "These documents are small. But those are far away".

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google Glass was not AR, VR, MR, or XR

    I've said it before, and I'm sure I'll say it again:

    Google Glass was never an "Augmented Reality" device. It was not in competition with HoloLens, Oculus, or likely whatever Apple will come out with. The only similarity is that it was something you wore on your head.

    "Augmented reality" means making something appear as if it were part of the physical world, beyond any screen. Google Glass didn't do that. It just gave you a small flat screen and camera with some gesture and voice control, that's it. It didn't "augment" reality any more than a stencil decoration on a window does. Functionally, it was competing with smart watches.

  11. Peter2 Silver badge

    the world's most prominent use of the tech – the US Army's plan to deploy thousands of HoloLens devices – has experienced delays and had its funding pulled by Congress after it failed user acceptance testing when soldiers became physically ill using it.

    The Army is now looking for a device that don't make warriors' heads spin.

    Google Glass enterprise will not be that device.

    Maybe Meta's Oculus is up to the job: as of two years ago Zuckerberg's baby had hit Google's target of ten million headset sales.

    I have been using 3D systems on the PC since pretty much forever. I've tried at least one of each generation, only to ditch them.

    Every single device has had a problem with nausea or headaches. My feeling is that the problem is inherent to the technology: you get headaches with 3D systems because of eyestrain. Your eyes keep refocusing when you fool them into misinterpreting perspective and that wears your eye muscles out. That can only be solved via an external screen that doesn't move.

    My experience is that the better the 3D device, the worse the nausea is. What I think is going on there is that you are successfully fooling the bodies visual inputs, but these are being cross referenced against your bodies Vestibular system in the inner ear. If visual inputs throw repeated checksum failures (eg; i've turned left) against your bodies sense of motion (eg; I haven't moved) then eventually you trip a really old legacy bit of code in the brain that thinks that sort of error is caused by being poisoned through having eaten the wrong sort of berry and that the solution is to vomit the berries out. Hence, you vomit.

    I'm probably somewhat imprecise as to medical terminology but short of surgically removing your bodies balance system (probably not a good idea because it works quite well...) then I suspect that having a good experience on a 3D device is probably actually impossible.

    1. Alex Stuart

      > My experience is that the better the 3D device, the worse the nausea is. What I think is going on there is that you are successfully fooling the bodies visual inputs, but these are being cross referenced against your bodies Vestibular system in the inner ear.

      This is true. But some people, at least, can get used to it to a significant degree.

      My first session with Playstation VR, major vestibular disruption and I tapped out after 30 mins or so.

      A few sessions later, I was doing hours at a time with no problems at all.

      To this day, pulling extreme maneuvres in a fighter jet in VR induces a wave of unpleasant sensations - but then so would doing it for real!

      For those who can never find their 'VR legs'...yes, value very much limited to no-lateral-movement experiences.

    2. Morbo the Destroyer

      I use VR for online racing games and never suffer from headaches or nausea. You must makes sure that the headset is setup properly (IPD etc and pupils dead center), I can do two hour stints without a problem hurling a GT3 car round a circuit. I have only ever nearly lurched once. I came off track and ended up facing the barrier, engaged reverse, and had the strong urge to empty my stomach. Never happened since. My son has no issues with VR either and he dog fighting in space ships.

      Other people who have tried my kit have had mixed experiences as you describe and others no problems. I guess it's down to the individual.

      Never liked the idea of Google Glass, far to intrusive on other people. Mind you with the *the company previously known as facebook* providing these products, no doubt thier kit is set up to slurp up all the data about your device and take a 360 degree pictures of your play area so they can work out what to sell you.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

    4. jmch Silver badge

      "My feeling is that the problem is inherent to the technology"

      Strictly speaking its inherent to the human brain, and specifically how inputs are processed. Clearly this is different for different people, there are 15-20% of the population AFAIK for whom it's more problematic, while for a lot of other people it's (mostly) OK.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    missed one

    Abandoning the AR glasses space? Seems a bit shortsighted to me!

  13. xyz123 Silver badge

    Another bricked device, another $3.253 billion tax writedown for Alphabet.

    Seriously why is NO-ONE realizing this is part of Alphabets business model?

    Make product..abandon product 6months later, claim R&D for WAY more than it really cost.

  14. IceC0ld

    call me childish, but I actually almost DID LMAO at this ---> In case of apathy, break Glass

    I LOVE the copy writers when they get going :o)

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