RIP Google Glass Explorer Program (2012-2015)

Shortly after leaving work last night, I received this email:

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My feelings were bittersweet. I’ve been a Google beta tester for a long time, so I know that products and communities I love (*sniff, Google Wave*) might go away with little notice. But I also know that when they do, they often reappear in better, more useful forms (hello, G+!).

I also know that many of the Explorers who joined with the first wave in April 2012 no longer wear their Glass in public. Either because the initial high wore off or because they live in communities where the backlash has been paranoid witch-hunt level (looking at you San Francisco).

I was among the last of those invited to join the Explorer program, so I only got my first set last March. I’m well aware of the physical limitations — I’m on my third set. But I still see so much potential in the technology. For a moment I felt a little adrift. “What does this mean for us?” asked a friend. Google’s email didn’t tell us much past the fact that they were shutting down the community forums on Jan. 19.

Then I found this:

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So Google Glass no longer will bean experimental division, they’ll be their own independent part of Google. That’s promising. I still have a lot of questions: Will they sub out our sets for what they develop as the end consumer product for free? Will we get a sneak preview? Will communities for us to gather and share still exist? If I get my prescription frames filled will they fit with the new headset? Will functionality and Glassware apps stop working?

But I don’t feel as anxious anymore. Another feeling has replaced that: anticipation.

I’m curious: What are your thoughts? How do you feel about the Explorer program ending next week? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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