We have to admit – Google Glass did cause quite a stir. It was a bold attempt to bring the world a step further into the information age. The idea was great, but the execution and development weren’t. And it wasn’t long before people realize that these odd-looking glasses didn’t live up to the hype.
As evidenced by Google’s withdrawal of all Glass-related media in social networks, it was clear that the revolutionary product wasn’t performing as planned. It caused a number of problems that warranted the demise of the $1,500 piece of super-cool tech., Here are 5 of the worst reasons why the Google Glass – a seemingly great idea – turned out to be a miserable failure.
Safety and Health Concerns
Before the product was even launched, there were already concerns as to how safe Google Glass is for everyday use. Not everyone was comfortable with the idea of having a gadget that constantly emits carcinogenic radiation so close to the head. While other mobile devices such as an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy also emit harmful radiation, they don’t have to be in direct contact with your skin all the time.
Aside from this, the built-in camera also raised privacy and piracy concerns. Remember that the Google Glass could be recording or taking a photo at any time. This means the person sitting in front of you at the subway or at the next table could be taking a picture or footage of you.
“Google Glass is a breakthrough concept, but it involves wearing a camera on your face, saying things like “OK, Google,” out loud, and walking around like it’s cool to do those things in public,” says Dan Kaplan of Threadling.
Another main concern was the possibility of illegally filming movies in cinemas, which is the reason why the device was prohibited in a lot of movie theaters. It was also banned in casinos where people didn’t appreciate surreptitious recording. There are simply too many ways to exploit the capabilities of the Google Glass. The mounted camera isn’t really a bad idea, but it could be in the wrong hands and situation.
While the idea of a smart device mounted on a pair of glasses sounded awesome, Google Glass’ design somehow looked awkward and very unattractive. The product looked like as if it is still in its prototype stage (which could actually be the case). Not only does it look unnatural, wearing it in a dark alley or even in a crowded place doesn’t really sound too safe; given its price.
And if that wasn’t enough, remember that wearers of the Google Glass were nicknamed as “Explorers”.
Little Progress to bring the Product out of the Beta Stage
The Google Glass got very little progress two years after its release. This led to the confusion of whether the Google Glass was an actual finished product or still just a prototype. And despite bold attempts to market the product (skydivers, fashion shows, etc.), it never really brought anything truly practical or revolutionary to the table.
To make it worse, the product sometimes stops working during important system events such as a firmware update. And although navigating the menus would feel responsive at times, the occasional jumpiness and sluggishness of apps and menus can be very frustrating. All in all, the product feels like a work-in-progress more than anything.
No Clear Function
The key to creating a great product is to find the demand or a problem that your product is trying to solve. You don’t just make a product first and find someone who’ll be interested in it after. This is an essential step before determining your target market, planning your promotion strategy, driving in sales, and calling your product a success. Unfortunately, this simple principle in business was overlooked in the development of Google Glass.
The Google Glass has two basic functions: to quickly capture images and to have a feed of useful information from the internet a glance away. What are the most practical daily uses for these features? None.
Obtaining the Google Glass offered no clear benefit to consumers whatsoever. In fact, even the engineers behind the product weren’t agreeing as to how it should be used. Some argued that it should be worn all the time, while others believed it should only be used in certain situations. This also resulted from the worst reason as to why the Google Glass never took off.
“Similarly, in your business, be sure that before you focus on the results or outcome, that you make it crystal clear what problems you solve, or why people might need what you offer,” says Ian Altman of Forbes.
Google Glass Explorers
Ultimately, the failure of the Google Glass was a result of bad marketing. The first version of the product wasn’t sold in retail stores. Instead, it was exclusively sold to “Glass Explorers” who had to pay $1,500 to be called “early adopters”. Unfortunately, this group was comprised mainly of tech geeks and journalists who wouldn’t really benefit from the key features that Google Glass had to offer.
Sure, the sense of exclusivity was nice, but apart from it, the product proved to be a bad investment for these early adopters. This was thanks to the unclear advantages of using the product and all the other negatives (low battery life, unappealing design, etc.).
The worst part was the fact that some tech geeks and journalists are very opinionated people, and they do have the habit of sharing their experiences through multiple channels including social media and personal blogs.
“I was a Google Glass Explorer, and the experience was horrible from the start. Google Glass now sits in my office museum of failed products,” says Tim Bajarin, President of Creative Strategies Inc., in this post at re/code. The UI was terrible, the connection unreliable and the info it delivered had little use to me. It was the worst $1,500 I have ever spent in my life. On the other hand, as a researcher, it was a great tool to help me understand what not to do when creating a product for the consumer.
Consequently, the underwhelming experience Tim and others received from the product damaged its reputation prematurely.
Read more: Microsoft’s Hologram Glasses Combine Digital World With Reality
Miserable failure? It was never a failure because it was never released, the whole project was still in beta by the time they shut down the Explorers program in early 2014. The Explorer Program was a bold attempt at bringing a great, powerful technology into hands of developers. Why don’t people get it through their thick skulls that Glass was never a finished product. Anyways, there’s a new Glass code named Aura which will probably be announced in May at Google I/O, we’ll see if that a another “Miserable Failure” as you call it.
If not a failure than what was it, a success? Even you (a “thin skulled” genius I presume) state that it was “a bold attempt” in your comment. It was indeed a failure and that is the reason it was never released. Even us “thick skulls” know better.
Do you own Glass, have you even tried Glass? I
I got it for free through a developer program back in 2013 and while yes, it does have it’s faults; which are still overshadowed by the fact that it wasn’t a finished product, I can definitely say that Glass is an amazing product with much future potential.
It will be impossible to overcome the real and perceived privacy issues. As such, no matter how cool it is it, Google Glass or similar devices will be bad for business – either not being allowed in many venues or simply creating conflicts between people. It is rude and invasive. I for one vowed to make a scene with anyone I saw wearing a pair and looking my direction. No product can withstand creating volatile situations and being banned from so many businesses for legitimate reasons. Anyone who can’t see that is thick-skulled and delusional. That this product made it so far in development without this obvious issue killing the project is the most amazing part of the story.
“Not everyone was comfortable with the idea of having a gadget that constantly emits carcinogenic radiation so close to the head. While other mobile devices such as an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy also emit harmful radiation, they don’t have to be in direct contact with your skin all the time.”
ugh, another scientifically illiterate idiot regurgitating this “green” nonsense.
Google Glass is Google’s first Microsoft Bob. There will be more massive failures for Alphabet ahead. Even with all the massive hype Google applied to Glass – like the try at exclusive Glass distribution ‘stores’ such as the floating mega-barge they were building in the Bay – they couldn’t make this turd of a product marketable.
Thank . I enjoyed the article …
Before Google Glass debuted, promo videos for it made it sound utterly awesome, providing a full AR environment. If you looked at a concert poster, for instance, Glass would let you purchase tickets on the fly. Of course, the actual product was far from this, and as a result, was an oversold disappointment,
Plus, it didn’t help that the most that non-geeks knew about Glass came from that devastating SNL parody (https://youtu.be/VbvhBmnMNF0)…
These are only made for the right eye I lost mine at the age of nine.now in my 70s
The first reason that came to my mind after reading the article title is: no clear target customer.
Why should some people wear this? What is the advantage that they can get? Do people need to perform google search every five minutes? I barely do one in a day. Do people really need to take pictures around when they go about their daily life? I hardly take one, on my normal work day.