BUSINESS

Google to end explorer program for Glass, realign wearable business

Google will stop selling Glass through its explorer program, though new products are on the way

Google Glass is graduating from the search giant's secretive lab for developing new technologies and will become its own entity within the company. 

Sales of Google's wearable device through the company's explorer program will end Jan. 19. The company will continue to work on the product and expects to launch new versions in the future, it said Thursday.

"Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk," the company said in a Google+ post. "Well, we still have some work to do, but now we’re ready to put on our big kid shoes and learn how to run."

Marketing expert Ivy Ross will continue to lead Glass and will report to Tony Fadell, chief executive of Nest Labs, the Internet home connectivity company that Google acquired in 2014. 

Google said Glass would not become part of Nest.

The wearable device had been developed through the company's Google X lab, which is also responsible for experimental ideas like driverless cars and smart contact lenses. 

Jon Fisher, chief executive of CrowdOptic, said the move points to growing business demand for Google Glass.

Fisher's company develops software that collects multiple live video streams from Glass users and compiles them in real time for a more comprehensive view. Demand has surged, he said, and the software is now in 50 hospitals and more than two dozen sports stadiums.

"What is happening here is indicative of the maturity of Glass, they are moving it out of the skunk-works and into the product category," he said. "Things are ramping up very quickly." 

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