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A requiem for Google Glass

Published Jan 15th, 2015 2:14PM EST
Google Glass Is Dead

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It seems like just yesterday that Google released an exciting teaser video for a new product that delivered important information by projecting images directly to your eyeballs — no more staring at your smartphone! Less than three years after that video tantalized the tech world, the product in question has become one of the biggest jokes since the days when Segway users were regularly laughed at as they scooted up and down sidewalks.

FROM EARLIER: Can this man save Google Glass?

From a technical standpoint, Google Glass was a brilliant idea. After all, who wouldn’t want to have the most relevant information come right to them without having to take their phone out of their pockets? From an execution standpoint, however, Google botched it right from the start.

First, Google Glass just looked ridiculous. The key thing about wearable technology is that normal people should want to wear it. Google Glass, however, always made people look very silly thanks to its clunky-looking eyepiece that was just one step above the Borg in the fashion department.

Then there was the way Google released the device. Google basically decided to sell Glass as a public beta for $1,500 a pop, which ensured that only the most dedicated and wealthy techies would buy into it. This also meant that anyone who owned a Glass headset would be easy to stereotype as yet another out-of-touch Silicon Valley dweeb with dysfunctional social skills.

Google Glass also created social asymmetries that were tough to overcome. The fact that Glass had a camera on it made people feel very uncomfortable around it because they always worried that they were being secretly filmed by the person wearing the headset. This was why Glass owners got thrown out of bars, restaurants and movie theaters on a pretty regular basis.

In all, Glass is looking like a noble, innovative failure. While Google may still find some use for it as a tool for specialized fields, the original dream of everyone walking around wearing a Google Glass headset and using it to replace their smartphones appears to be dead.

Brad Reed
Brad Reed Staff Writer

Brad Reed has written about technology for over eight years at and Network World. Prior to that, he wrote freelance stories for political publications such as AlterNet and the American Prospect. He has a Master's Degree in Business and Economics Journalism from Boston University.