Google is terminating its sales of Google Glass around the world just months after launching in the UK. The Glass was praised for being productive and innovative, but a £1,000 price tag was just too much for consumers to pay out.
Google started selling Google Glass to “Glass Explorers” (later known as “Glassholes”) in the US in April 2014 for a limited time, before it was available to the public in May 2014. The Glass was developed by Google X, a facility within Google dedicated to technological advancements such as the driverless car.
According to the BBC, Google still insists it’s still committed to launch the smart glasses as a consumer device, but will stop producing the Glass in its current form.
The Glass team will get a new home, they will be moving out from the Google X division which devotes in “blue sky” research and turn into a separate undertaking under its current manager Ivy Ross. Ross and the Glass team will be reporting to former Apple executive, Tony Fadell, the founder and CEO of Nest. Ross will be running the day-to-day operation while Fadell continues to run Nest within Google.
Current Glass owners will still be able to use the device as usual, but there won’t be any new software updates moving forward.
So, what went wrong?
The Glass actually started off quite well when it was first launched. Google saw a gap in the market for people that wanted a gadget that could contribute to some sort of real life.
However, because of the hefty price tag and the geeky design, the last people that would purchase and wear the Glass wouldn’t be real people.
Instead, the trend started with the tech nerds. They wore Glass proudly everywhere in public and insisted that this was normal. People around them didn’t appreciate someone possibly filming them during their private meals or conversations. Some Glass users were occasionally even asked to leave bars and restaurants. When there were Glass-users present, people felt like they were being watched and the weird blank stare out in the air didn’t exactly help the trust issues. The more that Glass-users insisted on that they were just a part of an advanced and enlightened group of users, the more they became “Glassholes. Even Google pleaded them to stop this.
So what have we learnt?
That fashion and style do matter, even in tech-ville. The Glass was built for engineers by engineers and despite the best attempts of designers such as Diane von Furstenberg and Luxottica, the company behind Ray-Ban, it still couldn’t shake off the geeky image. Another element is the price tag. No middle-class man or woman will spend a £1,000 on a pair of Glass when they can use their tablets or smartphones without looking like a creepy stalker.
Let’s hope that the new edition of Glass (out later this year) will blend in a bit more with our everyday lives. Hopefully, Fadell’s team is back at the drawing board and working on getting rid of the Glasshole image.