The Explorer program for Google Glass officially ended January 19th, an unexpected end, but not really. I did not expect it on that day, but I expected it. Glass as-is is not panning out to be the consumer device Google hoped for, but I can’t say it is a lost cause. I believe its best use is for everyday people recording moments, answering email. texting, making short videos, and so on. I also think artists would LOVE this, but didn’t really see any big push to market Glass as a virtual sketchbook. It is one, but the $1500 price tag for a beta device had to cool the enthusiasm for most artists.

Two things have to happen before Glass becomes what it needs to be. First, it needs to be more than a bluetooth extension for a smartphone. If a smartphone can do it, most people don’t see why an expensive and ugly pari of specs should be bought and used. Why? Why? I’ve found some reasons, but I have to agree that this isn’t too much different than a viewable, mostly hands-free smartphone. I saw a hint of what could be with the poster app and the sign translator, but little more.

The next thing, and it really should count as first, is that it needs to stop being ugly. Hundreds of years of anti-glasses prejudice will not be overcome by frames that make you look like … well, you’ve seen it. For Glass to succeed, it has to look good enough that people who don’t ordinarily wear prescription lens glasses will want to wear it. Good luck with that.

Finally, lowering the price would be good, but if the device continues to be no more than just another bluetooth exxtension of one’s existing smartphone and ridiculously ugly to boot, price won’t help. I’m hoping that the new direction helps Glass be what it can be–the personal assistant we all need.

I will continue to use Glass as long as it is supported and as long as it works. It did not stop functioning on January 19th. It really helps me in several ways. However, I am sad to see this phase end sooner than expected. I was thinking I’d have more time. I don’t think I will be putting in new prescription lenses any time soon.

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