From 'Glassholes' to Privacy Issues: The Troubled Run of the First Edition of Google Glass

Google halts sales of wearable computer as team goes back to the drawing board.

ByABC News
January 16, 2015, 9:38 AM

— -- When the first edition of Google Glass is laid to rest next week, the team behind the futuristic eyewear will go back to the drawing board to analyze the lessons learned before moving forward with the next phase.

Mention Google Glass and the responses range from tech nerd excitement to downright disdain.

The once sought after wearable computer has turned into a piece of technology fraught with privacy concerns that have led to it being banned in certain public locations. The $1,500 product also spawned a name for its tech savvy wearers: glassholes.

With simple voice commands, wearers of Glass could access the Internet, get directions, record video and take photos.

Aside from the perceived "dorkiness" of the product, it was perhaps the camera that caused the most concern in a public setting.

PHOTO: Attendees wear Google Glass at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 2, 2014.
Attendees wear Google Glass at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 2, 2014.

A number of restaurants and bars banned the devices. The Motion Picture Association of American warned theaters to be on the lookout for Glass, which could be used to record films. One strip club in Las Vegas requires patrons to check their Glass if they want to enter.

"It is a perfect stalker's tool," John Simpson, privacy project director of Consumer Watchdog told the Associated Press. "It's difficult to see how they solve that."

First available in April 2013 to people who qualified for Google's "Explorer" program, Glass went on sale to the public in May 2014 for the same price of $1,500, however it was met with a lackluster response.

Announcing the shift in Glass on Thursday, Google said in a blog post that it was a graduation of sorts for the device and vowed that the public will see a next generation of Glass.

The last day for individual consumers to purchase the first edition of the computer-equipped glasses will be Jan. 19.

"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," the Glass team said in a blog post.

The company is expected to continue selling its Glass at Work devices, which have been used everywhere from at sporting events to in operating rooms.

This week's announcement also included restructuring plans, which will move Glass from the Google X research lab to a separate group, which will report to Tony Fadell, the CEO of Nest Labs, which the technology giant acquired last year for $3.2 billion.

Google said the plan is for the group to "build for the future," and promised new versions of Glass will be available down the line.