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Google Still Committed To Google Glass, But Many Developers Have Abandoned Their Apps
More than a year after an app directory opened, there are only 98 Google-approved apps available. The device is, however, making inroads in healthcare and other industries.
Although the consumer launch of Google Glass isn’t likely to happen this year, Google says it’s still committed to the device even as many early developers say they’ve abandoned their apps.
A Reuters article today takes a look at the current status of the Glass project and, despite Google’s enthusiastic statements, the overall picture isn’t positive.
Of 16 Glass app makers contacted by Reuters, nine said that they had stopped work on their projects or abandoned them, mostly because of the lack of customers or limitations of the device. Three more have switched to developing for business, leaving behind consumer projects.
A survey of only 16 developers may not sound like much, but the size of the Glassware development community may not be very robust. Consider that, in the 13 months since Google launched its Glass app directory, there are currently only 98 apps listed there. Quotes from developers in the Reuters article suggest that the reason is because many have stopped building things for Glass. One developer that put a Glass app on hold tells Reuters that Glass is “not a big enough platform to play on seriously.”
Estimates for GGDevCon, a recent conference for Glass developers, are that there were less than 100 people in attendance. Writing on my Glass Almanac site, one attendee said the vibe at GGDevCon wasn’t upbeat:
There was a real sense among GGDevCon attendees that Glass, in its current form as a consumer device, is failing. Even the most ardent of Glass supporters speak of a “lull” or “slump”, and what might be needed to move beyond that. The less optimistic consider Glass to have already failed in this arena.
Google: “As Energized As Ever”
Google’s Chris O’Neill, the head of business operations for Glass, tells Reuters that the company is still “committed” and “energized” about Glass.
“We are completely energized and as energized as ever about the opportunity that wearables and Glass in particular represent,” he says. O’Neill also says Google is still committed to a wider consumer launch of Glass, but not “until it’s absolutely ready.” Google hasn’t given an official date for the consumer launch, but it’s extremely unlikely to happen in 2014, as the company had previously planned.
One bright spot, though, has been the Glass At Work program, which matches developers with businesses and industries looking to use Glass in the enterprise. There are now 10 official partners in that program, and industries from healthcare to manufacturing, travel, farming and more are seeing value in having their employees use Glass on the job.
Much like smartphones and computers, it may be that Google Glass finds a footing in the workplace long before there’s a value proposition for the general consumer.