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After almost two years of anticipation, Australians have been told they will never be able to buy Google's current smart glasses, known as Google Glass.

In a rare public failure for the technology giant the company effectively discontinued Glass in an announcement on Friday. The move surprised developers and early customers in the United States and Britain, who had spent $US1500 ($1800) on being first to own the devices.

The news was broken to users on its Google Glass Explorer program, who had paid for early versions of the device in order to develop applications. In a blog post, the company said it was time for Glass to "graduate" from the Google X lab, where the company works on secret projects, to having its own division. As part of this, it said the Explorer program will close on January 19 and that no further devices could be bought. Google will release future smart glasses at an unspecified time in the future.

Numerous businesses including St George Bank, Virgin Australia Holdings and British retailer Tesco had already gone public with their plans to develop apps for use on the device. St George declined to comment on the setback to its tech plans when contacted.

News of the end of Glass in its current form was broken by the BBC, which reported that the Glass team will continue to be run by its current manager, Ivy Ross. It will report to Tony Fadell, the chief executive of the home automation business Nest, acquired by Google a year ago.

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