Google Glasses : Chronology of a failure
I think everybody here knows what Google Glass is, if not I will briefly explain what this device consists in.
Google Glass is a wearable technology that displays information like on a smartphone. It is hand-free (vocal controls) and considered as an augmented reality device. This device is connected to the Internet and has many features : GPS, mails, Internet, photos, camera… It can be seen as a smartphone incorporated into glasses. However if Google Glass can be seen as a futuristic device it didn’t encounter the expected success. Why ?
2012 : Google presents its new project. Media start talking about this Google Glass project. Many people start dreaming about this futuristic device. In fact, a smartphone instead of your glasses, wouldn’t it be cool ? Google start selling prototypes for 1.500$ that will be available in 2013.
2013 : People start doubting about the product. Google released the prototypes in May 2013 but will make them available to public only in 2014 with no more information about a precise date or price. At the same time an American survey driven by BiTE showed that only 10% of smartphone users are potentially interested about the product, 45% of smartphone users find the product not attractive ! The same year many governments also start worrying about these glasses. What about privacy concerns ? In fact Google Glass have the feature to record instantaneously videos. How will privacy and personal data be protected ? How is Google going to do with all these data ? The success of the product was already compromised.
2014 : Google starts selling the glasses to the public. The price ? 1.500$, such as the prototypes. The price is clearly a brake for the potential customers that find it too expensive. Moreover as the product is quite complex to handle, you have to add the cost of personalized advices from the retailers. Second main problem : the accuracy of the apps. Some of the users judged the functionalities of the glasses inaccurate, especially when you’re using the vocal controls in a noisy space. Finally we could add that such as every electronic device, Google Glass can be subject to overheating. As a consumer I would find it really uncomfortable to wear an overheating device on my nose. Due to the disappointing sales Babak Parviz, responsible of the Google Glass project and Brian Otis, chief of the R&D department resigned. Many developers also left the company after the failure of the project. According to a survey the Google Glass could have penetrated the market if they had proposed their glasses to a price lower than 300$ which is 5 times lower than the proposed price !
2015 : Google definitively stopped selling Google Glass. However the project may not be completely dead. Google tries to find an alternative to this project. Given that these glasses were not popular to the public Google decided to target other consumers : businesses. This relaunch comes only 6 months after the cease of production. Google tries to avoid a complete failure of the project. Google revealed to companies the potential of its glasses especially in the healthcare, manufacturing and energy industry. In fact there are already some surgeons using this device. Voice control and hand-free screen present obviously some significant benefits. To encounter a success Google must improve their prototypes and probably also lower their prices. This new version should be presented before the end of the year.
After the failure of the commercial Google Glass, are the sales finally going to soar and ecounter some success or is the project already dead ? One thing is certain, Google didn’t give up and does its best to make this project finally profitable.