"The level of enthusiasm for a new technology ebbs and flows over time," said Scott Strawn, an analyst with IDC. "There's almost always an example of a company that tries [something] and it fails at first and then they go back and retool or another company comes along and solves the problem. Google will not give up on the concept of augmented reality. It may not be happening today, but these initial efforts are important in getting software developers to get thinking about these concepts."
Strawn pointed out that just last month, Google invested heavily in Magic Leap Inc., a company focused on augmented reality.
Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner Inc., sees a lot of significance in that investment. "Something else is on the horizon and it's probably related to their recent investment," he said. "I'm positive that Google and their partners are working on something new. Their investment in Magic Leap is really interesting.
"We have yet to find out the details about it, but it's bound to push well beyond what Glass offers today," Blau said.
According to Strawn, Google has a lot of obstacles to overcome to get Glass, or another augmented reality product, to market.
If the company waits another four years, it could have a processor small enough for the wearable that's four times more powerful than the one the prototype uses today. By then, the device could have better battery life and designers who've figured out how to make the computerized eyeglasses less, well, dorky.
"We're just not there yet," said Strawn. "I'm not saying [Glass] is dead by any stretch, but it does seem to be facing some real challenges. I wouldn't say they're calling it quits on the concept, but this form may have more challenges than can be addressed in the near term."
Uncertainty about what Google is doing comes down to a lack of communication, which could be frustrating people who were once excited about the project, said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy.
"There is no doubt in my mind that both users and developers have lost interest in Google Glass," he added. "By not talking about it, they signal to both users and developers that they, themselves, aren't supportive of it, so it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Anyone who has built ecosystems knows that developers need a constant stream communication whether it be good, bad, or ugly.
"Google needs to address this quickly or it will die and ugly death."
Sign up for Computerworld eNewsletters.