AH Google Glass

AH Primetime: Google Glass Isn’t Dead, But Will It Be Buried Anyway?

April 6, 2015 - Written By Ed Modlin


The Google Glass Explorer program was quietly discontinued in January of this year.  Many felt that meant the end of the device. Google Glass was a little bulky in the design, and difficult to operate, and stirred up a lot of controversies with it’s onboard camera being capable of capturing images and video and the occasional traffic ticket. The public’s had a hard time accepting Google Glass. Lastly, the $1500 price tag would scare off all but the rich hipster, or the well-funded tech-savvy consumer. Recently a Forrester survey found that out of 3,000 global technology decision-makers, 68 percent of executives consider wearables a “priority” for their companies.  That should guarantee its success, at least in the business world. However, with people either suspicious or just creeped out by the odd-looking Google Glass, how does Google succeed with such an amazing device?

Well, Google Glass isn’t dead, Eric Schmidt stated so in a recent interview, it’s just going through a redevelopment phase. One step would be to continue to promote its use in the workplace. Continue the Glass at Work program that Google started in July 2014. The uses and benefits far outweigh any costs or complaints. Here’s a great example. If a surgeon is able to use Glass 2 during an operation, and that the device can record the procedure for teaching purposes, that would be a great teaching tool.  Google would also have to give consideration to changing rules for employees safety and security.

Second, to make an improvement would be to give it better battery life, the first generation of Glass’ battery was, to say the least, not good. This way, it would become more viable to get Google Glass 2 (or whatever it’s to be called) with prescription lenses, and customers would feel comfortable with longer use of a second generation Glass. Next, we come to voice recognition and user interface. If you have to repeat what you want to do, like Google Now, then it’s failed. Google has got to develop a system that eliminates all background noise, so the user does not have to repeat over and over that they want to check email or Twitter. The wearer would have to give a command for anything, more than what they can do with the current Glass. If this can’t happen, the wearer will just put Glass in a drawer, or worse than that, they take it back to where it was bought, get a refund, and never pick up any other wearable item.

Another thing, email needs to be able to be read and understood easily and quickly, so they don’t walk into a light pole while trying to read that the meeting they are walking to, has been cancelled. The first generation units couldn’t be read well in bright outside conditions. Security would need to improve, build the capacity to enter PIN numbers, or possibly a retina scanner (see Star Trek 2).That’s probably a reach, but nonetheless a good idea. One of the best ways to make Glass better, might be to build it as a stand-alone device, with LTE capacity. Glass links up to the phone with a BlueTooth connection. If you gave it the ability to be SIM capable, they can justify a high price, but not too high, no one is going to pay $1500 again.

The design is the most important item that needs addressing, you simply don’t feel comfortable wearing a No. 2 pencil, weighing more than two AA batteries on one side of your face. Surely, people  weren’t too comfortable with someone who looked as though they’d been assimilated by the Borg. Glass 2 needs to integrate with the social situations around it. You shouldn’t know that a Glass wearer’s near if they don’t want to broadcast the fact that they’re wearing Google Glass 2. It should be as comfortable and inconspicuous as regular glasses. Finally, if Google isn’t able to improve the looks to the satisfaction of the public, license the technology out to manufacturers who can take the current generation of Glass and really reinvent the whole concept. Google did that with the Nexus line. Other OEMs knew what needed doing. If the company doesn’t have the vision to get Google Glass 2 to the next level, maybe another manufacturer will.