The Internet has been alive with news that Google has abandoned its ambitious Google Glass project and the general consensus seems to be a degree of gloating that the online mega-giant has failed.
Whilst we are not known for being big fans of Google (by that we mean its business practices, there is of course no denying it’s a damned useful search engine!) we think on this occasions the pundits have got it wrong on two levels.
Firstly, there is no harm in failure and Google should be applauded for trying something so ambitious, it’s what drives mankind forwards. If you want to look at failures to crib about we’d suggest something a little bit closer to Earth, namely the dreadful enhancements to Google Maps which have made this former star product almost unusable to people on moderate (e.g. UK) broadband speeds – how did they get it SO wrong?…..don’t they do user testing?
Anyway, back to Glass, no harm in trying and failing. We run many pilot projects ourselves at SH Consulting, not all work, but that’s how we can experiment without testing things on our real clients. So we think an occasional misfire is be applauded in business.
Secondly, we don’t for a moment believe this kind of technology is off the Google agenda forever, or indeed for long – and that’s for a simple reason, where else will the trends go?
If you think about tech trends generally it seems to our strategist pretty clear that consumers’ consumption of tech will increase over the coming decades. So too will the desire for a decrease in complexity championed by the likes of Apple in devices and Google in its very first page designs.
Consumers also increasingly want things now and won’t wait, and we want the experience personalised.
So to us this all points to a scenario of wearable computing and there are only currently 3 or 4 logical outcomes, in our clothes, in our eye line or eyesight, in our existing devices through technologies like virtual keyboards or of course implanted in our bodies..
Given the attraction of being able to visualise things at a personal level as you walk or drive, e.g. the latest restaurant offer tailored to you as you pass, presenting something in your eye line seems a great solution and its first iteration does seem most likely via spectacles or sunglasses than via other devices which introduce an extra step in the process, such as logging on.
So we predict Glass will be back shortly but most probably in conjunction with some third party fashion brands – they have street cred and distribution, they just need some tech, that’s a whole lot easier to collaborate on in a Google joint venture then trying to launch a whole new business that crosses boundaries into the optical world.
We wait with baited breadth and wish Google luck – when they succeed, and we think it IS only a matter of when not IF, it opens up a whole new arena for Search Marketing and even more opportunities for business owners to find the find clients at the right time at better ROI’s than traditional scatter gun Marketing.
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