Father of the iPod tasked with saving Google Glass from extinction

Photo: LeWeb

Photo: LeWeb

After failing to garner consumer interest for nearly two years, the fate of Google Glass is now in the hands of former Apple executive Tony Fadell. The Glass Explorer program is also being shut down on January 19th, which means it will be impossible to buy the $1,500 headset commercially.

Fadell, whose claim to fame at Apple was leading the development of the original iPod, joined Google last February when Nest was acquired for $3.2 billion. Now Google Glass is being moved out of the experimental Google X division and placed under Fadell’s leadership.

The development of Glass hasn’t been halted, but the move signals the trouble Google has had gaining momentum with the project.

“Early Glass efforts have broken ground and allowed us to learn what’s important to consumers and enterprises alike,” Fadell told The Verge 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.”

Current Google Glass manager Ivy Ross will report directly to Fadell as part of the new setup. Google is trying to position the news as Glass “graduating” from Google X into Nest, but it’s clear that the project needs new guidance. Restaurants and movie theaters banning Glass haven’t helped it gain favor with the general public, and the market for wrist-worn wearables is poised to explode with the forthcoming Apple Watch.

Under Fadell, Nest sells its smart thermostat and smoke detector along with the more recent addition of Dropcam security cameras. The “Works with Nest” smart home platform has been growing rapidly with partners like LG, Philips Hue, and Automatic.

At the techie-filled Consumer Electronics Show last week, I didn’t see one person wearing Google Glass. Google says that a new version of Glass will be released in 2015, but if normal people are supposed to want one, Fadell certainly has his work cut out for him. But after making smart thermostats cool, he may be just the man for the job.

Source: The Wall Street Journal