At the red carpet Annual Breakthrough Prize Awards held at Silicon Valley, Google co-founder Sergey Brin arrived on the scene without his usual accessory, his Google Glass, adorning his head. Although the exec did say he left his in the car, perhaps for the sake of respect and propriety, the absence of a product placement in a high profile tech even managed to spark some discussion about the Google’s “moonshot” product. Is Google Glass DOA? Of course, Google would insist otherwise, but some are pointing to writings on the wall.
From the very beginning, reception of Google Glass has been mixed, with almost equal number of doubters, firm believers, and dispassionate onlookers. The idea of smart eyewear sounds enticing and like a page right out of a sci-fi book, but getting it into the real world was easier said than done. But while Google has been making steady, though perhaps slow, progress, some are saying that outside interest Glass is waning fast.
There are quite a number of apps for Google Glass now available, but the question is how many of those will remain or how many of those have the quality to propel the device into the market. Unlike Android smartphones and tablets which can afford to have 12 clones of a single hit title, Glass can’t afford to come out with a cheap user experience, especially considering the price tag attached to the device. Unfortunately, there are quite a few who have already jumped ship, either because they have found a new business direction or plainly because they find no future in the wearable device. One of those, apparently, is Twitter.
Other supporters are also moving away. Glass Explorers, the device’s early adopters, are starting to sell their devices on eBay. Investors are quietly going behind the scenes. And the list of potential business partners outside of the geek world is starting to dwindle. Many point out the lack of a definite launch date, which has been pushed back again and again, as a sign that Google isn’t as committed to Glass as a commercial product despite what it says in public. It’s a case of “to see is to believe”, no pun intended.
Then, of course, there’s the matter of public perception, especially from non-Glass users and law enforcers. Google Glass has been seen both as a potential invasion of privacy and as a danger to driving, prompting many to ban the device in establishments or to outlaw its use while driving similar to a smartphone. Glass is definitely facing an uphill battle, but as Google continues to delay the product launch, there might be no one left at the finish line by the time it reaches it.