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.
So, why did Google Glass fail?
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.
Let’s find out what happened to Google Glass.
Why Did Google Glass Fail? A Quick Summary
Google Glass, an ambitious foray into wearable technology by Google, failed primarily due to its high cost, privacy concerns, limited functionality, and lack of clear purpose for the average consumer.
Initially priced at $1,500, Google Glass was too expensive for widespread adoption.
The device raised significant privacy issues, as people around the wearer could be recorded without their knowledge.
Additionally, its features and applications did not justify the cost for most users, and it struggled to find a practical, everyday application. This combination of factors led to its decline in popularity and eventual discontinuation in the consumer market.
Now, let’s dive deeper into the reasons why Google Glass failed.
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.
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, but 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 had 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.
What Were Some of the Technological Limitations of Google Glass?
To better understand what happened to Google Glass, here are some of the technological limitations of the that contributed to its limited success included:
- Limited Battery Life: Google Glass had a relatively short battery life, which restricted its usability for extended periods. This was a significant drawback for a device intended for continuous, everyday wear.
- Poor Display Quality: The display technology used in Google Glass was innovative but had limitations in terms of resolution and visibility, particularly in bright outdoor conditions.
- Inadequate Processing Power: The processing capabilities of Google Glass were limited, which affected its ability to run complex applications smoothly and led to a less responsive user experience.
- Connectivity Issues: Google Glass required a constant connection to a smartphone for full functionality, which limited its use to areas with stable internet connectivity and to users who already owned compatible smartphones.
- Limited App Ecosystem: The range of applications available for Google Glass was relatively small, limiting its functionality and appeal to a broader audience.
- Ergonomic Design Challenges: The design of Google Glass, while innovative, was not universally comfortable for all users, leading to issues with prolonged use.
- Voice Recognition Limitations: The voice command feature of Google Glass, which was a primary mode of interaction, faced challenges in accurately recognizing commands in noisy environments.
These technological limitations, combined with other factors such as cost and privacy concerns, hindered the widespread adoption and success of Google Glass.
The Future of Wearable Technology: Beyond The Google Glass
The future of wearable technology is marked by innovative developments like Apple’s Vision Pro.
Apple Vision Pro is a spatial computer that integrates digital content with the physical world, allowing users to interact with digital content as if it were physically present.
It features a unique user interface controlled by eyes, hands, and voice, facilitated by visionOS, the world’s first spatial operating system .
Key features of Apple Vision Pro include:
- Advanced Display and Interaction: Vision Pro offers an ultra-high-resolution display system, packing 23 million pixels across two displays. The device supports an intuitive three-dimensional interface, allowing apps to appear side by side at any scale, creating an infinite canvas for productivity and multitasking .
- Immersive Entertainment and Gaming: It transforms spaces into personal movie theaters with a wide screen and advanced Spatial Audio system. Vision Pro also supports immersive video experiences and new types of gaming, bringing users into all-new worlds .
- Environments Feature: This feature allows users to expand their world beyond physical room dimensions with dynamic landscapes, helping in focus or reducing clutter .
- Spatial Memory Capture: It includes Apple’s first three-dimensional camera, enabling users to capture and relive memories with Spatial Audio, providing life-size scales of photos and videos .
- Spatial FaceTime: FaceTime becomes spatial, allowing users to experience life-size video calls with enhanced audio, and it includes a feature that reflects users as digital personas .
- App Ecosystem: Vision Pro comes with an all-new App Store, offering numerous apps and content, enabling developers to create and reimagine app experiences for spatial computing .
- Privacy and Security: Built with a strong emphasis on privacy, Vision Pro features Optic ID for secure authentication and ensures user data privacy during navigation and interaction .
- Pricing and Availability: Apple Vision Pro is priced at $3,499 and will be available in Apple Store locations and online, with opportunities for customers to personalize their fit .
The release of Apple Vision Pro represents a significant leap in wearable technology, showcasing the potential for more immersive and interactive experiences in everyday life, blending the digital and physical worlds seamlessly.
In conclusion, exploring why Google Glass failed reveals a blend of technological limitations and market misalignment.
This analysis sheds light on what happened to Google Glass, underscoring the importance of aligning your product with consumer needs and expectations in the evolving landscape of wearable technology.
Who knows, maybe the Apple Vision Pro will solve these issues and make wearable technology.