Google pulled its wearable headset last week after under two years in the wild that saw it aim to revolutionize the way we use technology.
In truth, people were writing the obituaries for Google Glass way before it finally got canned. Google says it eventually intends to bring out a new version of the Glass, but let’s look at the five reasons why it didn’t prove a success this time around.
Google Glass was an interesting project, but now it is no more. It never really took off, and was never likely to. It was ahead of its time -- promising much, but never quite delivering. Along the way it encountered numerous stumbling blocks -- it cost a fortune, made you look daft, and could well result in you getting mugged, or thrown out of a cinema if you tried to wear it while a film was on.
Google has said that it will stop producing Glass in its present form, and will instead focus on "future versions", but that’s just the search giant’s polite way of avoiding saying the project is dead, and the Glass team will be using its corpse as a stepping stone to something new.
Like it or not, wearable technology seems to be here to stay. 2014 saw many advances for the Pebble smartwatch, Google Glass stayed in the game, though remained out of the price range for most consumers. Android Wear debuted with several brands offering differing form factors. But where does this new product line head off to in 2015?
For starters, there is Apple, which announced its offering recently, though it won't be available until next year. That one is, like anything announced by the Cupertino-based company, greatly anticipated by a certain group of people. And like other Apple products, it will also be overpriced in a market where you can buy a Pebble for $99.
At the airport, it's normal to see customer service staff equipped with phones, walkie-talkies and perhaps a tablet. Passengers travelling to and from Scotland who pass through Edinburgh airport will soon find that they are greeted by staff adorned with Google Glass. Google's wearable specs are to be trialled in the Scottish airport in a bid to provide more help and information to travelers.
Customer support representatives will be able to call up flight details and answer queries using the head-mounted Android-powered hardware.
I am reluctant to criticize unreleased Apple Watch because my analysis about original iPad -- given before seeing it -- was wrong. That said, Android Wear, while seemingly sensible comparison that analysts, bloggers, and journalists make, isn't right. When put in perspective of next-generation wearables, I think Apple Watch should be compared to Google Glass.
Be honest. Which looks more innovative to you? The utility of something you see at eye level that provides real-time, location-based information is much greater than something that demands more responsive -- "Hey, Siri" -- interaction and turns the glance and fingers downward. Granted, Apple Watch delivers alerts, and you feel them, but your attention is always to look away.
Begin a sentence with the phrase "most anticipated gadget ever" and tradition dictates the words "Google" and "Glass" must follow shortly after.
Unceremoniously launched into public consciousness from a plane hovering over Google I/O, Google Glass has been one of the hottest topics in tech since 2012. Two years on and the smart specs are still the gadget every technical guru desires; to some it's "an overwrought headband", to others it's the wearable future of modern technology.
"Imagine a world where you can interact with a digital device just by thinking about the content you want -- that's the world we're building", enthuses This Place CEO Dusan Hamlin.
This might sound like a feature of the distant future or cutting-edge technology straight from a sci-fi film. But this is exactly what 'This Place' has created in its innovative new app called MindRDR (pronounced 'mind-reader'). Combining NeuroSky's Mindwave Mobile -- an EEG biosensor that has a contact point with the user's temple and monitors changes in the user's brainwaves -- and Google Glass, this app could be the next stage in merging wearable technology with telekinetics.
Google Glass is available to purchase in both the US and UK now, although the high asking price ($1,500/£1,000) will certainly put off many potential buyers, as will the news that if Google decides to make a change to the specs’ specs in the future (as it did this week, doubling the memory to improve performance), existing users will have to pay full price to get their hands on the latest model.
But price and lack of future proofing may not be the wearable’s biggest problems. A friend of mine who tried Glass out said the device made him feel like a futuristic cyborg, but look like a massive geek. And that could be a huge stumbling block. In June, mobile App Performance Management (mAPM) firm Crittercism commissioned an online Harris Poll survey among over 2,000 US adults aged 18+ and found that of those who were interested in wearable technology twice as many (54 percent) said they would opt for a smartwatch rather than computing glasses (26 percent).
Chinese electronics giant, Lenovo, looks set to enter the wearable technology market after filing a patent for an "Electronic Device and Sound Capturing Method".
While the patent is careful to not use the word "wearable", perhaps to avoid any lawsuits with competitors, the images show a device that certainly bears a resemblance to Google Glass.
Following feedback received from early adopters (known as Explorers), Google has announced a significantly revised Glass wearable. But, unlike prior iterations, it looks like this one will not be available as a free-of-charge upgrade for current users, who will now have to pay full price to get the latest and greatest.
The improved Google Glass is touted to offer better performance courtesy of a RAM capacity increase to 2 GB, which is 1 GB more than before (prior versions only allowed 682 MB of RAM to be effectively used, making the difference quite substantial). There are also more Google Now cards available, which will display extra information like shipping delivery estimates and car location.
Still trying to justify the cost of Google Glass to yourself, or your significant other? The ability to use it to evade zombies and get fit in the process might not be enough to tip the balance, but it’s certainly another tick in the 'for' column.
Immersive fitness app Zombies, Run! has been adapted to work with Google’s wearable. If you’re not familiar with it, the app essentially turns a real-world jog into a journey through the zombie apocalypse. On Android and iOS it’s pretty much an audio-only affair, but the Glass Edition changes that.
Do you hate Google Glass? Does your blood run cold whenever you see one of those human cyborgs coming towards you? Well one New Zealand designer has come up with a solution: cut off their Wi-Fi.
Berlin-based Julian Oliver has released a simple program that he calls Glasshole.sh, designed to detect any Glass device attempting to connect to a Wi-Fi network and block its access.
The latest controversy surrounding Google Glass is the fact that the device is reportedly causing eye strain and headaches.
There have been a number of reports of problems on Twitter, and BetaBeat detailed their own experiences of two writers who had sharp pains after ten minutes of Glass usage -- pains that disappeared after taking the device off.
Google Glass has gone on widespread sale over in the States again, although only richer gadget fans will want to get a piece of the action, as the device is still priced at $1,500 which represents quite a premium.
In mid-April, Google made Glass available to anyone, but just for a one day sale -- and by all accounts units sold out swiftly.
Google Glass has yet to be officially released to the public, yet the product has already made a big impact on society. If you aren't familiar, it is a computer that you wear on your head, like glasses, with an integrated camera. The camera is what has ingrained the product into popular culture by way of controversy. It should come as no surprise that people become uncomfortable when a camera is pointed at them. News reports started hitting the airwaves that wearers of the product were being assaulted, banned from businesses and issued traffic tickets.
However, the controversy and hatred towards the product has been minimized thanks to its relatively small footprint. You see, Google limited sales to what the company officially dubbed "Explorers" -- basically technology nerds that the company knew would like the product. Unofficially, people that dislike the product have started calling owners "Glassholes". Today, the company announces that starting on April 15th, all adults in the USA are welcomed to buy it -- but availability will be limited.