Google Glass Explorer Program set to shut down on Jan. 19

By April Taylor , Jan 16, 2015 08:27 AM EST

Google is shutting down its Glass Explorer program, but the company insists that this is not the end of the controversial gadget.

Google Glass has stirred plenty of controversy since its launch, with some people even getting investigated by authorities over the use of the gadget in certain circumstances.

In a recent post to the official Google Glass+ account, the company has revealed that it intends to stop selling the current version of its hi-tech eyewear to individuals on Jan. 19. Developers and companies, meanwhile, would still be able to get the gadget.

Google further plans to move the Glass team out of its Google X experimental labs and into an independent division, which will continue to have Google Glass chief Ivy Ross as its leader. In turn, however, Ross will report to Tony Fadell, the former Apple executive who is now the CEO of Google's Nest Labs division.

"Since we first met, interest in wearables has exploded and today it's one of the most exciting areas in technology. Glass at Work has been growing and we're seeing incredible developments with Glass in the workplace. As we look to the road ahead, we realize that we've outgrown the lab and so we are officially 'graduating' from Google[x] to be our own team at Google. We're thrilled to be moving even more from concept to reality," Google explained in its announcement.

"As part of this transition, we're closing the Explorer Program so we can focus on what's coming next. January 19 will be the last day to get the Glass Explorer Edition. In the meantime, we're continuing to build for the future, and you'll start to see future versions of Glass when they're ready. (For now, no peeking.)"

This decision comes after months of speculation, with various reports indicating that Google was close to nixing its Glass efforts because the gadget failed to kick start a proper developer ecosystem. Many developers who originally got on board with Google Glass ultimately gave up on the platform either due to the device's limitations, or to the lack of customers.

As previously mentioned, consumers who tried out Google Glass were oftentimes questioned when wearing the gadget in movie theaters, bars, or even their own cars. With such reluctance toward the futuristic eyewear, it's no surprise that the $1,500 Google Glass didn't see a wider adoption.

Now, with the Glass Explorer project set to close for the general public, Google's new Glass division will focus on the next-generation Glass device. A new iteration is expected to see the light of day sometime later this year, but no specific details are available at this point.

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