Wearable tech is a much talked-about trend, but the demise of Google Glass would seem to suggest that it’s not here just yet. Google Glass is an internet-connected eyewear that was tested and marketed for two years. In January, Google announced that it would stop marketing the product to consumers and focus on creating a more polished and less expensive version of Glass.

What went wrong with Google Glass?

  1. According to Forbes, the design of the glasses was not attractive and caused much derision. Tim Brown of IDEO says that all new technology is clunky and that Glass will succeed only when consumers can see themselves actually wearing the glasses in public. He says the major flaw in Glass is the design, and that more innovation is necessary to come up with a design which customers will like.
  2. Another suggestion by Forbes is that consumers were disturbed by privacy issues, since the app recorded personal information without making this clear to users.
  3. NBC news says Glass was viewed by consumers as a freakish device. The marketing of Google Glass did not convince “regular” customers that it was a product they should buy. Customers saw it as an experiment - something for companies and techies to try out - but not something they should invest $1500 in.
  4. No one knows what to do with Google Glass. Although Google has suggested uses for many professionals, from policemen to surgeons, it’s not clear where and when it would be acceptable to wear the glasses. The potential for using Glass in the workplace is there, but it’s not yet understood or accepted by consumers.
  5. Google Glass had a poor battery life, petering out after 3-5 hours. In this age of smartphones and tablets, battery life is a hot issue. If something can’t be used all day long and be recharged only at the end of the day, it’s not likely to be widely used.

Some experts are touting Google Glass as a failure which was actually a success. They say that innovative technology requires experimentation and the fact that the first version was not a commercial success is unimportant in the grand scheme of things.

Google Glass has set the stage for new innovations and there may be profitable applications for the Glass technology in other forms. It’s even possible that Google Glass has laid the groundwork for new technology a few years down the line which will become just as mundane as smartphones are today.

Patrick Sirois

At Triode, we specialize in developing new products and services for complex industries like medical devices and transportation. We work with you closely to help define product strategy, with an emphasis on reducing the risks associated with innovating in these sophisticated and often regulated consumer-oriented environments.