Google Glass is expected to be a pretty big focus at Google I/O this year, but it’s still unclear how the public at large will receive Google’s connected eyewear when it launches next year. In an effort to assess its odds in the U.S. market, BiTE Interactive commissioned YouGov to conduct a study on the matter. According to a poll of 1,000 American smartphone owners aged 18 and above, “only” one in 10 respondents said they would be willing to wear Google Glass regularly, regardless of the device’s price. The study also found that 45% of those polled said they believe Google Glass is “too socially awkward” or “too irritating” to wear, and 44% said they simply don’t find any of Glass’ known features to be desirable.
“Google is leading the wearable technology bubble as it looks to define what the next consumer screen will be,” said BiTE Interactive EVP of Operations Joseph Farrell. “Google’s past successes have occurred when they provide an innovative product that solves a real consumer need. However, with Glass it looks like Google risks exposing a serious disconnect between its pioneering technology and the key problem it solves. The Google Glass Adoption Forecast uncovers many more concerns for Google’s Glass strategy with the majority of smartphone owners unconvinced that its key features would make it worth buying.”
That’s one interpretation.
While BiTE uses the term “only,” a 10% adoption rate among U.S. smartphone users would be absolutely astounding for a radical new device like Google Glass.
As of the end of March, comScore estimates that 136.7 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones. If Google sells 13.6 million pairs of its Google Glass eyewear, it will be more successful than most smartphone models, and smartphones are almost a commodity at this point. The idea that 13.6 million people in the U.S. are even willing to wear Glass is simply remarkable.
While we doubt BiTE’s study will end up accurately reflecting reality — Google is definitely onto something here, but Google Glass certainly isn’t the next iPad — it’s still promising for Google and it shows that there is a significant amount of buzz surrounding Glass.