What if a product becomes a meme before it hits shelves? Rebrand it.
That is the fate of Google Glass, the beleaguered wearable computing headgear the Internet giant tested, then shelved and is now planning to relaunch under new leadership and in a new form. It's a now known inside Google as Project Aura.
Google picked up the Aura name internally this summer, according to a source familiar with the company, although that was hiding in plain sight: Several of its team members listed the title on their LinkedIn profiles, a few describing the project as working on "Google Glass and Beyond." One described it as "building cool wearables."
Google declined to comment.
Business Insider spotted the profiles earlier today, along with the fact that Google had hired a trio of engineers from Amazon's defunct experimental research division, Lab126 — Amir Frenkel, Tina Chen and Dima Svetlov — along with Max Ratner, a former Apple engineer. All joined Google in July and August, according to LinkedIn.
Glass has had a tumultuous year. After the chilly reception to its initial consumer version, run as a beta with its Explorer program, the company 'graduated' the project from its Google X research lab, handing it to Nest chief Tony Fadell. (Fadell runs the operation — Project Aura — separately from Nest, which is now a distinct Alphabet company.) Then Glass' business chief left. Meanwhile, the team quietly updated its enterprise 'Glass for Work' product, which is separate from the next consumer version that Fadell and crew are putting out soon (likely early next year, sources say).
Got that? Good. Now Project Aura should not be confused with Project Ara, which is part of Google's other advanced research arm that is still a part of Google but not Alphabet. All this, mind you, from a company devoted to making computing simpler.
—By Mark Bergen, Re/code.net.
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