I like wearables…I think there’s a huge market for tech attached to our bodies which enhances our lives with form and function in harmony…but not Google Glass. Yesterday Google stuck a well deserved stake through the heart of this monster and retired it to the “Moon Shot” division where big ideas go to die.
The writing was on the wall for Glass a while ago when Sergey Brin stopped appearing with Glass at high profile events. In recent years you were more likely to catch him in public without his pants than without Glass…but when he stopped toting Glass recently many Glass watchers drew their own conclusion. The early adopters who shelled out 1,500 bucks (and in some cases had to write essays on why they wanted to be allowed to buy Glass) will be understandably pretty ticked off. Fortunately their disposable income will likely be at a level where they won’t feel the pain…and that speaks in good measure to why Glass failed.
It wasn’t the battery life (which was less than very useful). It wasn’t the generally clunky usability.It wasn’t the fact that it apparently wasn’t really evolving, adding features or uses. It wasn’t the lack of a “killer application” to drive adoption…it was all of the above…and the “squeak-out” factor it caused.
Glass was an elitist, intrusive, ego trip for the arrogant Technorati to wear to show that they knew someone at Google, had more money than sense and were cooler than thou. If your wearable brands your users “Glassholes” you have a major marketing problem. Compare with GoPro…a bit clunky early on, rapidly evolving features, a killer reason to exist (showing off sporting prowess on YouTube) and affordable to pretty much anyone that wanted it. Nobody thinks GoPro users are secretly recording them, or taking pictures or checking up on them online. GoPo cultivates a young, cool slightly crazy vibe and produces organically share-able content. It also has great battery life and my dog could operate it.
Our faces, especially our eyes are intensely personal. Adding any tech to them is tricky and typically looks weird or threatening. Any wearable, which engenders mistrust in those around it and contempt for the “Glassholes” who wear it is doomed…and good riddance. Hopefully lesson learned.