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A retreat for Google Glass and a case study in the perils of making hardware

NEW YORK — You won’t have Glass to kick around anymore. At least not for a while. Google will stop selling its Google Glass smart glasses, and the product will no longer be developed by Google X, the company’s research division. In a blog post, Google said Glass will still be available to “certified partners” and for commercial trials in places like hospitals and factories. But the Explorer program, in which software developers and gadget nerds could buy a test version, is over. The company is not abandoning Glass — but it is pressing the reset button. In an unusual arrangement, the company says Glass will stay within Google, but its chief, Ivy Ross, will report to Tony Fadell, who helped design and create Apple’s iPod before inventing the Nest thermostat. Google acquired Nest last year. “Google decided that they need to turn this product over to someone who knows how to bring a consumer product to market, both from a design perspective and a marketing perspective,” said J.P. Gownder, an analyst at Forrester Research. It is a humbling retreat for Glass, the Internet-connected glasses that allow users to do things like snap pictures with the blink of an eye or send e-mails with their voice. Glass may be a case study in the perils of developing hardware whose purpose is not clear. The device was banned by bars and large parts of Las Vegas. West Virginia tried to make it illegal to use while driving. “There’s no vision for why people actually need this device,” Gownder said. “That’s a problem.” — NEW YORK TIMES