Google Glass Project Aura

Google Glass has had a tough life. Besides having limited usability, public sentiment was never great towards the device, and became downright seething after people began wearing them in public. Google realized the uphill battle it was facing and pulled the consumer version from the market. Regrouping, it placed Nest CEO (and former Apple designer) Tony Fadell in charge of developing a new version of the device. But when Google reorganized into Alphabet and spun Nest into its own division, there was a large question regarding the current status of Google Glass and whether Fadell would still be involved.

Thanks to Business Insider, things are beginning to clear up regarding Google Glass. It seems that Glass has been transformed into a new wearable initiative titled ‘Project Aura.’ The new group consists of Glass team members and a number of designers and engineers recently let go from Amazon’s secretive Lab126 hardware development group (perhaps answering our own questions regarding the future of Amazon’s wearable device that the company alluded to last year). ‘Project Aura’ will continue to be housed under the Google umbrella, along with the  

company’s internet businesses and Android OS. This is intriguing since Alphabet has a group for emerging tech products (X Lab), signaling that the company does not view ‘Project Aura’ as a “moonshot” product. It also allows the initiative to be more tightly tied to the software work being done by other groups within Google. From a leadership standpoint, Tony Fadell is still be onboard, but he will be responsible for purely high level oversight. On a day-to-day basis, Ivy Ross will oversee the group. Ross, who has over 20 years of fashion industry experience, is transitioning from a similar position on the Glass team, which she was hired for in 2014.

Clearly Google Glass as it existed was not the success the company was hoping for. While always framed as not being mass-market-ready, I don’t think Google was prepared for how much the public disliked the device. After several months of flux, it appears that Google and Alphabet have settled on a strategy to move forward with. It will be interesting to see what (if anything) comes from ‘Project Aura.’