Google Glass is quietly leaving the stage
Interesting consequence of events around Google Glass in the past couple of months is pointing that this much-hyped, mega-feature-rich, ultra-futuristic device is not going to regular audience anytime soon. And when I say “regular audience” I mean that we will probably never see hundreds and thousands of people wearing Glass in their everyday life.
First of all – we get reports stating that Sergey Brin has been spotted bare-faced on a high-profile, red carpet event past Sunday in the Valley. If you do follow gadgets and Sergei Brin closely, chances are high that you probably know the Google co-founder as “the biggest Glass advocate”, mannequin of the device and, of course – the head of the lab that developed it. He rarely shows up somewhere public without wearing his favorite pair, giving the surrounding audience some sense of future.
Later through the past week, Brin was noticed wearing his Glass again, however another interesting and pretty quiet event happened meanwhile. The Glass Collective, a venture fund known for backing Glass apps and created with that only purpose, took down their webpage and it now redirects to the Glass page itself. No press release or explanation given, just a quiet website takedown and 301 redirect – you know, the Google bot can penalize them otherwise. Reuters recently tried to dig further into this website disappearance – a Google Ventures spokeswoman declined to comment in details and said the web site was closed for simplicity. “We just found it’s easier for entrepreneurs to come to us directly,” she said. Like, you know – I have this great Glass app, why don’t I walk directly in Google’s HQ in Mountain View and suggest it to them.
If we look in the course of events that took place internally at Google, in the past six months, we can’t help noticing that several key Google employees, directly responsible to developing Glass have left the company. This including their lead developer Babak Parviz, electrical engineering chief Adrian Wong and Ossama Alami, director of developer relations.
If that was not enough to convince you – 9 out of 16 companies initially invited by Google to develop early versions of their apps for Glass – are now bailing out, lead by.. Twitter. They were the first to pull their app for Glass and stop its development.
So – we have an evangelist not carrying his “bible” around, a quiet website takedown, developers and companies bailing out of a project here. These facts clearly send a message. It says – “Google Glass is not going to be as big as everyone thought and predicted”. Sorry folks, we are not becoming terminators soon.
Google Glass is the first product of Google’s X lab to unveil. Probably you know that X lab is the super-secretive Google team, overseen personally by Sergei Brin. This team is responsible for the cutting edge innovations that Google rolls out to the world. They work on things like Glass, digital contact lenses and self-driving cars, to name a few.
When Glass initially unveiled, a selected number of developers, dubbed “Explorers”, were handed a pair of the product. As they hit the streets, however the acceptance rate of the surrounding people was not as high as anticipated. Explorers reportedly drew stares and jokes at them, some people viewed the device as obnoxious video recording thing, intruding their privacy.
The society simply was (and still is) not ready for such a breakthrough. So unready, that some of the Explorers were referred to as “Glassholes”. Even though Google are insisting they are fully committed to customer launch, the device is probably not hitting shelves of electronic stores soon.
Google probably was aware of this fact earlier this year, or at least worried – because they have pivoted their approach away from masses and targeted businesses. The so-rumored and exclusive device that you could hardly get ahold of is now being sold in bulk to some businesses, offering two-for-one discounts. In April, Google launched the Glass at Work program to help make the device useful for specific industries, such as healthcare and manufacturing. So far the effort has resulted in apps that are being tested or used at companies such as Boeing and Yum Brands’ Taco Bell.
Glass should have been brought to more people before its launch. Google should have lead an aggressive campaign to educate society and make them accept Glass easier. All these staring people should have been given examples of how Glass can change their wellbeing. Alas, this did not happen. For a device – be it part of the IoT or not – to succeed – mass adoption is crucial. No mass adoption – no
Glass, game – beg my typo.