Two years in, Google Glass has generated a lot of debate but very few sales. Yesterday, Google announced that it is ending sales of its consumer ‘Explorer’ model, amid leadership restructuring and a new focus on Enterprise solutions. This was not how it was supposed to be: Glass was created to revolutionize how we mere mortals interact with the World and consume and produce content…
Google Glass promised quite a substantial leap in how we’d be a part of the world around us, and beyond us, but of course, that struck many as far too geeky for the unwashed masses. How the users themselves pushed the product hasn’t done Glass many favors, going from visionaries to comedy gold in no time at all.
Remember this video?
Not all is lost.
Tony Fadell (he of Nest and Apple iPod fame) is to be in charge of it’s next iteration, which means that there are experienced hands on the wheel henceforth. Nest is still an independently run company, and Glass is all Google, so it’s hard to predict what Glass 2.0 will be. The fact remains that Glass was definitely be a niche product pretending to be otherwise and a boat-load of marketing couldn’t save Glass from others pointing out that indeed, the Emperor has no Clothing (save, a Google Glass of course).
Fadell, in a recent response to a question about how to build a hardware startup,noted “What problem are you trying to solve for the user? If they can articulate it, I tell them to make a software version of it, since you can put it on [an iPhone, Android device, etc.]. Stop looking at the shiny bits, go work on the problem space.”.
As a Technological Optimist (an absolute requirement for writing with SolidSmack), I believe in Google Glass. But I have also predicted that no one would wear it for a few reasons. For one, it wasn’t terribly fashionable (although they tried) and that being said, it wasn’t inconspicuous. It doesn’t matter if it has a fusion-powered laser you can use to warm up your coffee – if people can make fun of it, and you can’t hide it from at least a few people that could make fun of you, then it’s just simply not going to work out.
Google, of course, doesn’t feel that way.
You see, Google is going to treat Glass like your own high school experiences; they were terribly embarrassing, complete with social ostracization and the only friends you had were other nerds.
But as most of us are well-aware, those days ended when you graduated and you were finally able to escape into the private sector where you could get paid way more for knowing C++ and having a pocket protector. In Google’s mind, it’s the same way. They’re calling it a “Graduation”, and soon Google will be laughing at us while they make billions selling them to companies worldwide.