Google pushes Glass release date back to 2014

Company changes its tune after sources leaked plans for a 2013 Glass ship date during Google I/O in May

Google sources have backed away from earlier projections that the company's Glass wearable computer would ship later this year. The company now acknowledges that Glass won't ship until 2014.

At the Google I/O developer conference in May, one internal source and another close to the company said that Glass would be available in 2013.

In a recent email to Computerworld, one of the sources at Google I/O referenced Google's Glass ship date as 2014.

When asked about the change, a Google spokesman said, "We're always adjusting and readjusting timelines. The most important thing that we do is focus on building a great product for users whenever that might be launched."

The insistence of some Googlers at the May conference that Glass will ship later this year had contradicted earlier statements by Eric Schmidt, Google's former CEO and current executive chairman.

Schmidt in April had told a BBC reporter that Glass was about a year away from hitting the market. "It's fair to say there will be thousands in use over the months and there will be changes made based on feedback," Schmidt told BBC at the time. "But it's fair to say it's a year-ish away."

Analysts at Google I/O said Schmidt was likely playing it safe in case the ship date did extend beyond 2013.

"I'm pleased that Google has the discipline to hold Glass back until they think it's perfect," said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. "Typically, Google will throw products out before they're ready, like the Nexus Q. Glass is a new category of devices and it's important that it works well. [If not], it could stunt the growth of these kinds of devices."

"That's interesting, but not surprising," said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at ZK Research. "Glass has so much hype around it that it's more important Google get it right than get it out early or on time."

Dan Olds, an analyst at Gabriel Consulting Group, said his bet is that Google is taking extra time to focus more on Google Glass marketing than technology.

"Google hasn't said anything about the slip or why it's happening," said Olds. "If I were to speculate, I'd say it's more marketing related than technical. Just the specter of Google Glass has caused a lot of buzz in both the tech world and with consumers. Businesses have banned them preemptively and there have been lots of discussions about how this device impacts privacy.

"I think Google wants some extra time to figure out how to best introduce Glass and how to make prospective customers, and the people around them, feel more comfortable with the technology," he added.

Olds also pointed out that privacy groups and the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus have raised a number of concerns in recent months as the Glass technology is distributed to early adopters, developers and critics through Google's Explorer program.

Critics cite Glass' potential use as a tool to surreptitiously snap pictures and videos of people. Google has pledged not to use facial recognition technology in Glass until strong privacy protections are in place.

Some businesses, such as Caesars Palace and Seattle's 5 Points Cafe and Bar, have already banned the use of Glass inside their establishments.

Tags BBCMobile/WirelessGoogleNetworkingEmerging Technologieshardware systemswirelessinternetmobile

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