Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, the company’s work-focused version of its iconic but once maligned smartglasses, is being discontinued.

Google says in a device support FAQ that, starting March 15th, it will no longer sell Glass Enterprise 2, adding that it will only support the device until September 15th, 2023.

While the company says it’s not pushing out any more software for Glass Enterprise Edition after that date, however its most recent system images will remain publicly available until at least April 1st, 2024.

Launched in 2017, Google Glass for enterprise was a revival of sorts, as the company had ceased production of the storied device in 2015.

Google Glass Explorer Edition | Image courtesy Alphabet

Starting in 2012, the company was hoping to seed the device among prosumers with its Glass Explorer Editions, although public backlash spawned the term “glasshole,” putting a severe dent in Google’s ambitions to launch a more consumer-focused version of the device.

Google hasn’t explained why it’s killing off Glass for enterprise. In response to PC Mag, a Google spokesperson left this comment:

“For years, we’ve been building AR into many Google products and we’ll continue to look at ways to bring new, innovative AR experiences across our product portfolio.”

To be fair, Google probably has bigger fish to fry, and the aging smartglasses platform may well be replaced sooner rather than later. Google said last summer it would be conducting real world tests of its early AR prototypes, emphasizing things like real-time translation and AR turn-by-turn navigation.

There’s also the issue of emerging competition. Apple’s upcoming mixed reality (MR) headset is rumored to arrive sometime in mid-2023, while Meta is prepping multiple generations of its MR Quest headsets.

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Granted, these MR headsets probably won’t be the model workhorses, although many companies see MR headsets as a steppingstone in preparation for the sort of all-day AR glasses industry is hoping to commercialize in the near future.

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To be clear, Google Glass is a style of smartglass(es) and not an AR device as such; Glass provides a single heads-up display (HUD) that doesn’t place digital imagery naturally in the user’s perceived environment, like with HoloLens 2 or Magic Leap 2, but rather flatly projects the sort of useful information you might also see on a smartwatch. You can learn more about the differences between AR headsets and smartglasses here.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • Christian Schildwaechter

    The initial Google Glass promotion material made it look like an AR device that would enrich the users environment, which it clearly wasn’t due to technological limitations. It ended up as a fancy notification device with speech recognition that was mostly used to trigger the integrated cameras, directly leading to the “glassholes” label. Now a number of people actually liked the feature set, but it was very far from the pretended AR capabilities.

    I wish that Meta would learn from the “don’t pretend that it is AR when it isn’t”. I am a huge fan of VR, I also really want a proper AR HMD, but mostly for very different, more practical real world use cases, while VR will still be the best for alternate realities. The term Mixed Reality has gone through a number of iterations, first it described a type of video post-processing, integrating a VR user in front of a green screen into the virtual world, then it became Microsoft’s marketing term for VR, now it has become Meta’s description of VR with passthrough as a fancy way to say” we can’t actually do AR, but want you to believe we can”.

    I fully expect MR to become synonym with AR and replace it at one time, if only for the fact that “augmented” is not a word the non-English speaking world would understand. But for now it is a hogwash of marketing speak, something that Meta emphasizes a lot and obviously invest a significant amount of resources into, with very limited benefits for the users. It can do almost nothing of what AR is supposed to do due to lacking sufficient processing power to detect the environment. All they currently do is some edge/silhouette detection that is sufficient for identifying walls and some furniture, which then allows them to fix virtual objects relative in space to these. It is a nice to have to pick up your controllers, but otherwise doesn’t really help with anything VR or AR, as VR is mostly about blending out the real world, and AR about recognizing it, and MR does neither. A lot of effort is spend to make MR a thing, but just like Google Glasses it doesn’t focus on the strengths the devices actually have, instead trying to fake features they don’t have, which will cause disappointment both for those that want resources spend on actually creating more capable VR HMDs as well as those that are looking for functional AR HMDs.

    • Arno van Wingerde

      To me MR and AR are somewhat different: AR would be an overlay with extra information: you look at some gate and the AR text tells it is “the Brandenburger Tor” or show what the old version of a building looked like or “suspect cancer cells”, and you can ask for more information on it. MR examples would then be Pokemon or the short but cute “the World Beyond” on Quest2, which shows your room in a kind of “Matrix” style and you can make the walls invisible to show the alien spaceship outside your home.

      • Christian Schildwaechter

        To me MR and AR are currently also completely different. What you described as MR is VR with passthrough and spatial anchors, it doesn’t interact with the real world at all, only with the 3D map of the room that was created during the initial scan. It doesn’t detect changes, let alone allows interacting with moveable objects.

        I just refuse to give this a separate name, it is still just VR with a dynamic background video. We didn’t introduce new names when VR went from 3DoF to 6DoF, or when tracked controllers became the standard, or when Ultraleap showed camera based hand tracking or the Index introduced sensor based finger tracking. It was still just VR with now more features. So I see no reason why VR with passthrough, which has less impact on the typical VR use than any of the new features I just listed, should be called MR, other than Meta wanting to imply that it is a much more valuable feature than it actually is.

        My comment about the term Mixed Reality replacing AR in the long run had nothing to do with the current technical implementation, it is an acknowledgment that marketing has a bigger impact than technical correct descriptions. We already see articles like this one labeling the Apple HMD with that Meta marketing term because it will technically also use camera passthrough, though the Apple HMD will most likely be an actual AR headset. So while your distinction between AR and MR is properly by function, that broad labeling of anything using passthrough as MR ignores said function, and unlike the use of VR and AR so far only refers to one specific implementation detail. Which is most likely exactly the kind of smudging up terminology for which Meta adopted the Mixed Reality label in the first place, so they wouldn’t be left behind when Apple introduced an actual AR HMD before Meta could.

        • Guest

          Oh, I thought MR was Microsoft Reality.

  • Hivemind9000

    Google discontinues (insert promising but under-supported product here)

  • Raphael

    Google successfully continues its line of abandonment.

    • Guest

      It just goes to show that they make their code disposable. If they were any good, their previous code would just be a subset of their current code base, which I assume is AR Core. It’s also sad that they make AR Core dependent on their Play Store Services, so half the world’s population will never allow that!

  • Google’s Graveyard is now bigger than yesterday

  • Cless

    We know we live in the end of days when I upvoted you twice in just one article…