In the two years since its public debut, Google Glass has gone from being seen as a potentially game-changing wearable computer to being a hopelessly dorky piece of technology that even diehard Google fans are having a hard time stomaching. Over at CNN, Google X exec Astro Teller explains the reasons that Google decided to create Google Glass in the first place and he inadvertently shows us why this iteration of Glass is falling flat on its face so far.
“Technologies often fail not because they don’t function; they fail us because we know they’re there,” Teller writes. “When a technology reaches this point of invisibility, it has reached its ultimate goal: becoming part of our routine, with no compromise between us and the technology… What inspired Google Glass was partly the realization that consumer technology products often don’t live up to those standards. So, we began to look more closely at the people around us and how they interact with technology. We found they were living in a world divided between their digital lives and their in-the-moment physical lives.”
Teller is 100% correct that wearable technology needs to be almost invisible in order to thrive. However, Google Glass is a very visible headset that puts a very distinctive eyepiece right on your forehead. What’s more, Google’s strategy of pricing Glass at $1,500 and limiting it to a select number of people over the last year has meant that only the biggest diehard techies out there with a lot of disposable income got to try it out.
With such a small sample of people using the device, it quickly gained a reputation as something only used by an elitist group of tech nerds who had to be taught basic rules of human interaction to avoid giving Glass a bad name.
None of this is to say that Google should dump Glass or stop working on ways to make it less visible. It’s more to illustrate that in its first attempt, Google hasn’t met the high standards it set for itself.