Google Glass has been getting slammed by the media since it was announced that the Explorer Program was being shuttered, with countless outlets claiming that the project is simply dead in the water. I’ve already told you on a couple different occasions why this isn’t the case, but now we have more confirmation that Glass isn’t dead yet (beyond Google simply telling us that they’re “excited” to be working on something). Google has given—and continues to give—a select group of its coveted Glass at Work partners very early versions of the next iteration of the device to test and develop for, according to several sources…
The next version of Glass is still in the earlier stages of development, but sources say that Google has privately been showing different prototypes of it to some of its Glass at Work partners since as far back as October of last year. This device was likely an older model that was developed under the old regime.
But Google is said to have shown a version of the device to “some” of its more important partners at some point earlier in 2015 as well. It’s uncertain if this device is a newer model, or if it was continuation of Google reaching out to partners with a model developed before leadership shifted. That said, we’ve heard Google has approached at least one company since leadership changed, meaning Google is either continuing to show partners an older prototype, or it has something new that we don’t know about yet.
Sources say there has been a notable shuffle of engineers working on Glass since the Explorer Program got shuttered in mid-January, and that there is what some internally are referring to as a “new” Glass team, operating under the “fresh strategy” described in the company’s Q4 earning call. It’s possible that this team has begun work on another internal iteration of the device, likely following this new vision for where the project will head under Tony Fadell. It’s worth remembering that Ivy Ross is still “Head of Glass,” however, and we’ll have more on this “new team” soon… (Update: Read more about the “new team”…)
It’s clear that Google is very focused on its “Glass at Work” program, which currently includes 10 startups focused on bringing new software to Google Glass and wearable devices in general. Notably, it’s not exactly easy to become a Glass at Work partner, as Google has certain requirements in place—including a certain number of deployed units. But these partners are seemingly getting the opportunity to work very closely with the Glass team in building the next iteration of Glass (assumably to make sure it’s “perfect” before Fadell puts it in the public eye).
This is a stark contrast to the Explorer Program, which basically threw the device into the wild just to see what would happen. One would argue that it’s a good thing, though, that Google is taking its time this time around. The company seems to have learned a lot from the Explorer Program, and that includes the fact that there is a huge amount of opportunity for Glass in the workplace. Google is making sure that these companies—the ones putting Google Glass in the workplace—are part of building the next version of it.
In case you missed them, be sure to check our recent pair of posts covering the current state of Glass: