Google kills Iris smartglasses project – quelle surprise

It's all just a little bit of history repeating
Google Iris glasses
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Google has been doing Google things this week, as reports suggest that it’s killed its Iris smartglasses project.

Former Wareable US editor Hugh Langley has reported that the company has shuttered Iris, after waves of resignations and the departure of key execs – driven by repeated changes in strategy for the smartglasses project.

> Best smartglasses 2023: AR and VR revealed

Iris was a new project formed out of the ashes of Google Glass. The company held pole position having released a pair of consumer smartglasses in 2013. For all its faults, Google Glass was way ahead of its time.

Google followed up the closure of the Glass project by buying North – a promising startup, which aimed to put technology into a pair of normal-looking Focals AR glasses.

Google itself revealed details of the Iris smartglasses project in 2022 with a teaser video that showed off a real-time translation feature.

But according to Business Insider, the company now plans to pivot to building an AR smartglasses OS, a la Android, on a new platform called "micro XR" for glasses. 

It’s curious how Google seems to go through the same cycle for each product.

It has hallmarks of the Pixel Watch, which was shuttered in 2016 before being resurrected in 2020.

Nest has also been passed around the company, and at one point spun off to Alphabet, before now being at the heart of the company’s smart home strategy.

So having built the first ever consumer smartglasses, killed the project, bought and killed the brightest AR startup, and started and killed the Iris project – the company has finally settled on what it always does: building its own OS.

We presume, like the Pixel Watch, Google will be building its own smartglasses in around 2030, five years after everybody else.


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James Stables


James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years.

He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014.

James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives.

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