Google puts Nest boss Tony Fadell in charge of Glass, halts sales for now

by: Bogdan PetrovanJanuary 15, 2015

google glass glasses

Almost two years after the Glass Explorer program first made Google’s head mounted computer available to enthusiasts and developers, Glass is “graduating” from the Google [X] labs to become a real commercial project.

That sounds like great news, but with this graduation (“put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run,” said the Glass team) comes the end of the Glass Explorer program, and with it, Glass sales to the public:

Since we first met, interest in wearables has exploded and today it’s one of the most exciting areas in technology. Glass at Work has been growing and we’re seeing incredible developments with Glass in the workplace. As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we’ve outgrown the lab and so we’re officially “graduating” from Google[x] to be our own team here at Google. We’re thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality.

As part of this transition, we’re closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what’s coming next. January 19 will be the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition. In the meantime, we’re continuing to build for the future, and you’ll start to see future versions of Glass when they’re ready. (For now, no peeking.)

Google is basically ending its public experiment with Glass and turning it into a commercial project, with the implied goal to bring Glass to market as a real product, rather than a “beta.”


Google co-founder Sergey Brin has been one of the most vocal advocates of Glass

There’s no official word from Google about it, but the WSJ reports that the new Glass team will be under the supervision of Tony Fadell, head of Google’s Nest Labs smart home division. Google’s Ivy Ross will be the exec directly in charge with the project, but she will report to Fadell, who will provide oversight and “strategic guidance.”

tony fadell nest

Tony Fadell

Fadell, a former Apple exec who led the development of the original iPod, joined Google a year ago through the $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest Labs. Soon after the acquisition, sources claimed that Fadell’s role would extend to include oversight of all of Google’s hardware projects. Fadell refuted the rumors, but looking at the addition of Glass to his portfolio, it seems that the executive is indeed turning into a hardware tsar at the Mountain View company.

“Early Glass efforts have broken ground and allowed us to learn what’s important to consumers and enterprises alike,” Fadell said in a statement. “I’m excited to be working with Ivy to provide direction and support as she leads the team and we work together to integrate those learnings into future products. I remain fully committed to Nest and am equally excited about our work there, which continues to accelerate.”

While sales to the public will end January 19, Google will continue to provide Glass to companies and developers looking to develop applications for it, reports WSJ, and a new version of Glass is coming this year.

Today’s news is a mixed bag for Glass enthusiasts, some of whom have suffered ridicule or even outright harassment by angry bar patrons, movie theaters employees, or hostile restaurant owners. The closing of the Explorer program without a clear replacement suggests Google realized that selling the $1500 Glass to the public wasn’t a good idea in the first place.

On the flip side, with a hardware heavyweight like Tony Fadell at the helm, Glass has better chances of becoming a real product.

It’s fairly safe to assume that Google will pitch the new Glass, whenever it’s coming, mainly for workplace applications. The public’s hostility towards Glass has not translated to the enterprise sector, where Glass has been explored for a number of interesting applications, including feeding info to doctors, pilots, or even soldiers.

  • crutchcorn

    May be a turn in the right direction… I am hoping that this continues to take off for consumers however

  • L

    Google should keep this in a beta state like Oculus for the next 5 to 10 years in order for it to become more advanced and mainstream. If they release it too soon, it may not be popular enough and the whole prgram will be shutdown…only for Apple to “invent” it when the time is right and take credit…

    • asdf

      like the smartphone and the tablet and the minj tablet and the phablet…

    • Renascienza

      “next 5 or 10 years” is a huge amount of time (imagine an Android stuck on Cup Cake version for ten years, pal!).

      And there is no way to a restricted product turn itself on mainstream. If you want people have it and talk about it besides small circles, you need sell to them.

      Quoting Apple, his first iPhone had no “copy and paste” feature.

      • Chris

        since when did apple become a “he”

        • Renascienza

          Thanks for help, i will fix it.

          I’m not a native english speaker and my text have errors sometimes.

  • John Doe

    About F’n time!!!

    • Chris

      whys that? its a product that still has a long way to go if it wants to be successful.

      • Renascienza

        Because be available to public is a required step to be successful.

        And maybe because John Doe (as myself) is in line to grab the final product. :)

  • Renascienza

    I disagree about just one point: the Glass Explorer Program was a nice idea.

    There is no other way to know about pratical tech issues, public reactions, social impact and create a developer base without put the beta product on streets.

    But at some time, the program need be finished to (finally) put a non-beta product on sale.

    Can be a bad move if, and only if, there is a long time between the conclusion of the program and the availability on the market

    • MattEgansHairLine

      Apart from common sense. If they would have bothered to think instead of just throwing shit at the wall to see if it sticks, then they might have realised how bad an idea it was from a company reknown for breaching data protection law across the globe.
      1+1 always equals 2 I’m afraid.

      • Renascienza

        An interesting story, no doubt. I have great interest in the social impact of AR products like Google Glass. So, please share: what protection laws were broken by the product (I mean the real court sentences)? In which countries? When?

        For the sake of my curiosity, will contain any additional comments until you to submit the court condemnations to which it is referring.

        • MattEgansHairLine

          Try again, understanding and reading are two different things.

          …’how bad an idea it was from a company reknown for breaching data protection law’…

          Keep defending them as Eric Shit presses his bloated sweaty body against everyones privacy.

          • Renascienza

            Ok, i read “renown” at first time. I read wrong or you edited?

            But my curiosity remains in place. What the broken laws you are talking about? You can present the court sentences?

            Yes, i am very privacy concerned and I even create products to privacy protection, using high level cryptography. But I have to recognize that some companies do not collect or use data beyond what is expressly provided in their own privacy policy agreements. Google seems to be one of them and I have no complaints about it.

            Even so, it is really not a point here. We are talking about Glass. I am not interested on general complaints and FUDs. If you have some solid point about the product to share, please do it.

          • MattEgansHairLine

            uk ICO vs Google data harvesting Google street car, still ongoing as goigle doesn’t know how to delete data it illegally collected, pretended not to be aware it collected it, then pretended not to know every manger knew. Then pretended not to want it, but are still fighting to keep that data. Five years of being fined and still they fight to keep data they lied about never wanting.

            Safari hacking, fined in US, about to go to trail in UK, but now Google wronlgy think they cannot be held accountable outside of the U.S.

            The list is miles long, I would need a website like one of the millions blocked by Google search (bing European courts google search)

            Like I said, (why do I have to keep repeating to roid ragers?) go to bing, look for yourself outside of the walled garden that is Google.

  • Nazgul

    It should be in great hands. I have a Nest and plan to get both the Protect and Drop cam in my new home. I’ll be in line for the production version when it comes out.

  • Francesco Rago

    the real problem was a not clear idea what to do with the glasses. This had an impact on software development that was not focused on applications synergised with hardware. This was clear in May !

  • MattEgansHairLine

    Congratulations to googles marketing department, a round of applause for this little scam.

    If I put it this way: pay me $1,500 for a device you can’t wear anywhere cause it’s banned and most likely will get you punched in the face, in a form factor that people would rather have an unqualified bloke in a shopping mall point a high powered laser into their eye than wear said form factor.

    Or another way to say it: I’m a multi-billion dollar company who can’t be bothered or am incapable of designing a well thought out device.

    • Renascienza

      Customers are advised that the Explorer version is for developers or beta-testers.

      If someone buy it (on e-Bay or something, because to buy it on Google you need describe how you intend do with it, is a restricted product) to show off himself on somewhere where he can be “punched in the face”, he is at your own risk, and can’t blame anyone but himself.

      Now, the Explorer program is over. The device is about to be redesigned to make a final comercial product.

      • MattEgansHairLine

        Like I said, congratulations googles marketing department, you sold betas for $1,500, only fools are so readily parted from there money

        • Renascienza

          If you are referring to exhibitionists, hipsters or the like, really I think is pure nonsense. It is a similar behavior with taking a limited remedy without having read the leaflet (in which case the laboratory that makes the drug has absolutely no responsibility).

          But the people for whom the Explorer Program was created (early adopters, journalists, developers, researchers and beta-testers) are not silly, they all have very clear reasons to purchase and use the product.

          See: I fully respect your right to have your opinion about it. However, with your pardon, but I must confess that it seems really dumb.

          • MattEgansHairLine

            Do you really believe the marketing hype that Google pour forth? Really? Well, I guess someone has to fall for it.

            Only a fool is parted happily from his money.

          • Renascienza

            I don’t believe in hypes, i am not a hipster, as the Explorer Program itself is not intended to hipsters. Is intended to (damn, why i need repeat myself over and over again?) early adopters, developers, researchers and press. These people know about what to do with the product and are conscious about the price.

            If something have no use to you, just don’t buy it, is very simple. I am curious about why you look so angry about decisions that people make using his own money… By my experience, these things ever have a hidden motivation. Sometimes, rather shabbily.

          • MattEgansHairLine

            Keep reading googles marketing, ignore the real world.

            Also make sure you only use googles search, so you can stay In their walked garden (Bing legal issues in Europe).

            Let’s play pretend, let’s pretend Google are not in court in my pretty much every court on the planet regarding theft of data, illegal data harvesting, and breching security of millions of users. Keep you head in the sand.