Google Glass: Not the failure it's made out to be?

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Failure. Disaster. Flop. These are just a few of the words used to describe Google’s foray into wearable and augmented reality technology known as Google Glass. When the first videos of Google Glass were released to the public, they sparked the imaginations of millions. Many began to dream up fascinating new applications for this innovative technology. Just think of how it would impact businesses! How would our everyday lives change with this powerful device going with us wherever we went? The possibilities were staggering, and a revolutionary change in how the world works appeared to be right around the corner.

As we now know, Google Glass is little more than a footnote. From the way most tech blogs describe it, Google’s amazing new device failed to live up to expectations. It never caught on with businesses or the public at large, and the result was a disaster the likes of which Google isn’t familiar with. In fact, many websites are urging companies pushing similar devices to do everything they can to avoid Google Glass’s mistakes. If there’s one thing to learn from the Google Glass phenomenon, it’s that Google struck out with this attempt.

But could the popular perception of Google Glass be missing the point? It turns out that many people may have gotten the wrong idea of what Google was trying to do with its Glass product. A combination of mistaken media stories, common misperceptions, and poor communication have likely contributed to the idea that Google Glass was a failure of Betamax proportions. The tide may be turning on opinion regarding Google’s wearable attempt, and history may be a little kinder toward those strange looking glasses tech geeks were wearing for a time.

This noticeable shift in opinion over the Google Glass has in part been driven by a push to understand what Google was trying to accomplish with it in the first place. Many of the shortcomings and criticisms people lobbed at Google Glass can actually be answered once you know that what we saw from the product was really only Google’s Explorer program. Yes, Google Glass was expensive, thus severely limiting the number of people who could buy it. Yes, its capabilities were not clearly defined and made using it pretty difficult at times. Again, that was all intentional on Google’s part. The tech company wanted the first adopters of Google Glass to be a sort of test audience. They wanted to see what people would do with the product and keep the feedback in mind for future projects. Based off of this research, Google would be able to develop other products. In other words, the Google Glass we saw was more of a trial run, a beta that was never going to be released to mass audiences at all. That’s why we never saw Google Glass released as a standalone product made available in stores.

When Google revealed the Explorer project was coming to an end in early 2015, many people quickly proclaimed Google Glass a miserable failure. What they didn’t realize was that Google was transitioning into a new phase -- the enterprise version of the device. This new and improved Google Glass is being made for businesses and industries for them to use, and for now, it is seeing success. From its use in the airplane manufacturing process to helping people with autism, Google Glass has gotten a new lease on life thanks to improvements made through that initial experimental phase. The more it catches on among larger enterprises, the more likely it will eventually be made into a consumer version.

Even if Google Glass itself were never to see the light of day again, that doesn’t mean it can be declared a failure. After all, innovation often requires failure along the way, leading to the very breakthroughs that can be deemed giant successes. The technology used in Google Glass is already being put to use in other devices, like smart contact lenses and new camera technologies. If anything, Google Glass can be considered a pioneer in the field of wearable smart devices, a needed trailblazer that paved the way for other gadgets and modular solutions that will play important roles in our lives in the future. While it may be popular to kick Google Glass around, Google may actually have the last laugh.

rick_delgadoRick Delgado has been blessed to have had a successful career and has recently taken a step back to pursue his passion of freelance writing. He loves to write about new technologies and ways of keeping ourselves secure in a changing digital landscape. He writes articles for several companies, including Dell.

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