Google Glass was introduced to the tech community with great fanfare in June, 2012 at Google I/O, but it was released to the developer community in April, 2013. Since then, the device has been mired in controversy, but it has also been successfully used in the areas of medicine and journalism.
Recently, Google announced that it is going to stop the sale of Google Glass, so, what went wrong and what’s next?
Here is what I have to say about Google Glass.
Google Glass: An Experiment Ahead of Its Time
Wearable technology most likely has a long way to go before it becomes an inseparable part of our daily life. (Have you bought your smartwatch yet?) There are many concerns among users, as well as non-users, about how a device like Glass can be used in public settings.
Reasons Why Google Glass Probably Didn’t Take Off
- Initially, it was available only to a limited community of developers
- Google Glass was priced at $1500
- Many users found the voice and touch user interface highly complicated
- The battery life of Google Glass was only 3-4 hours
Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC technology correspondent was one of the first in the UK to try out Google Glass and he found that he particularly liked the camera, but felt it made its users look daft.
In addition, Cellan-Jones predicted in this BBC article:
“Google has tried to present this announcement as just another step in the evolution of an amazing innovation. But make no mistake – Google Glass is dead, at least in its present form.”
The question now is, will they be able to resurrect it? They have hired Ivy Ross to do just that. With her background in the retail and art industry Ivy has a reputable eye for design. She has been given the seemingly daunting task of taking Google Glass from the geek crowd to the mainstream.
The Challenges Faced by Google Glass
Ever since its launch, Google Glass faced several challenges in software and usability areas. One such challenge was that developers hacked the software and modified Google Glass to be used for unintended purposes, such as taking a picture by winking. Also, users often cited concerns regarding privacy and the ability of the Glass users to record anything in their view. Following up on these concerns, many establishments, like casinos and bars, banned Google Glass wearers in their premises.
Forrester Research’s J.P. Gownder says
“Glass still seems to be more of a cultural oddity than a legitimate device, especially with the coining of the term “glassholes” for its wearers. While 43 percent of consumers have shown interest in the device, 50 percent also have concerns on privacy.”
Other Criticisms Google Glass Faced
- Wearers often complained of disorientation from viewing a screen in air
- Drivers wearing Google Glass were shown to have poor reaction time
- It needed to be constantly connected to a smart phone or Wi-Fi for data usage
- Photo quality was much lower than modern smartphones
So, is Google Glass Dead for Good?
The sale of Google Glass is on hold for now, but an improved version might be in development. There is ample scope in the market for wearable technology, but it needs to be marketed at a price point that appeals to a wider set of users. With better features, it could be useful in areas such as education, entertainment, medicine, and law enforcement.
In this article published on Warracle.net, case studies of the Google Glass have seem promising particularly in the sports context. Glass is currently being used in case studies for golfers to be able to better judge the elevations, wind speed and distances to the hole all while leaving their hands free for the golf club.
Google is also working on apps for Google Glass that would be only be effective with Glass and thereby making it a must-have for consumers.
Maybe the world isn’t ready or willing to accept technology such as Glass today, but in the future, we’ll definitely see an advanced version of Google Glass on many faces.
What are your predictions for the future of Google Glass? Are you one of the few who actually have and used this technology? I used my Google Glass on a vacation and absolutely loved it – I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Featured Image – Bigstock.
Subscribe to SEJ
Get our daily newsletter from SEJ's Founder Loren Baker about the latest news in the industry!