Google is pulling the plug on its project to build a pair of augmented reality (AR) glasses, according to a report by Business Insider. Google shelved its plans for the glasses, internally known as Iris, earlier this year following the exit of Clay Bavor, Google's chief of augmented and virtual reality (VR).
In January 2022, The Verge revealed details about Project Iris describing it as resembling ski goggles. However, Google employees clarified that the ski goggles were a separate AR project that was later announced as a partner product with Samsung. The actual Project Iris is a series of devices that more closely resembles eyeglasses.
Google initially intended to develop and release Iris as its own product, and it strengthened its workforce through acquisitions. In 2020, Google announced that it had purchased North, a Canadian startup that created augmented reality glasses. The first version of Iris closely resembled North's first device, the Focals, while a later version that Google publicly demonstrated had translation capabilities.
Google is no longer focusing on developing its own hardware for extended reality (XR) devices, according to the report. Instead, the company is developing a software platform called "micro XR" that it can license to other headset manufacturers. Google is now working on a software platform for Samsung's headset and will focus on being the "Android for AR”.
The report said Google leaders kept making changes to the strategy for the development of Iris glasses, which led to the team continually pivoting. Project Iris had also been beset by layoffs and changes in direction throughout its development. Clay Bavor, Google's head of VR/AR, left the company four months ago, and Kurt Akeley, a reputed engineer who was reportedly attached to the project, is now listed as "retired" on his LinkedIn page.
In March, Google said that it is shelving Google Glass, a wearable device that resembled a regular pair of glasses and displayed information directly in the user's field of vision.