Just over two years ago, Google's Sergey Brin was on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, taking a bow following fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg's Google Glass-studded show. Back then, Google Glass was riding a high wave of positive press: The New York Times proposed it was "the future of technology" and fashion critic Vanessa Friedman mused that Glass was "the next big accessory." But Glassholes have since turned face computing into a social malfunction, and now Reuters is reporting the project's future is in jeopardy.
According to Reuters, the project has suffered a number of setbacks that indicate that Google realizes the public is losing interest in Glass. Many key Glass engineers have left Google. Nine of the 16 independent developers Reuters contacted said they have shelved their Glass apps. Twitter has pulled their support for the devices. A venture capital group dedicated to Google Glass has vanished. Glass made a small presence at Google's developer conference over the summer. And the company keeps pushing back Glass's release date.
Even Sergey Brin—a man who is often seen in public donning Glass—has begun leaving his pair behind. Before meeting Keira Knightley at a Silicon Valley movie premiere last week, he told a reporter he stashed his Glass in the car.
Reuters noted that Brin "has hardly given up on the product." However, Glass has no longer has a specific release date. While Brin previously said it was supposed to come out this year, a source told Reuters that it will likely happen sometime in 2015. Another Glass entrepreneur, Alex Foster, told the wire service that a venture capital firm pulled their funding offer from him "when it became clear no big consumer Glass release was imminent."
Another sign the project is withering? Google Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, and Kleiner Perkins teamed up in early 2013 to found "The Glass Collective"—a venture capital partnership dedicated to "[providing] financing and support to entrepreneurs shaping the future through Glass." But the Google-backed funding syndicate's website has gone dark and its URL now redirects to the Google Glass homepage.
Google insisted to Reuters that the project has not been dropped. However, observers note that Google Glass seems to be shifting from a consumer to an enterprise focus—where big businesses can require their employees to wear the devices.
It seems Sarah Slocum and the entitled army of technophiles that rallied around Glass might have ruined consumer demand for the product. One self-described "card carrying nerd" told Reuters that he couldn't handle how "super nerdy" the device was. Now Google Glass can be found on eBay for half off list price.