Google Glass has hit a few rough spots since the public first laid eyes on the product. One of the most recent ones was losing their team lead, Babak Parviz. Though they may have found a strong replacement, Google Glass has a different issue that they have long been struggling with-a release date. One of the reasons a release date has become such a big issue is that the public is fully aware of the project. However according to Google Glass head of PR, Chris Dale, they would rather deal with the negative comments than the alternative.
Fans of Google Glass have been patiently waiting for the device to launch publicly, but for some, patience only lasts so long. Since 2012, Google has been showing off what was originally known as Project Glass, and still the device hasn’t hit store shelves. While there are ways to get it now, Glass comes with a hefty $1500 price tag. That price tag is one of many reasons people are waiting for a public release, the hope is that at that time, the price will drop significantly. However, there’s been no word on an official release date, even though the project seems to be getting passed up by others like Android Wear. Chris Dale, head of communications and public affairs sat down with Toms Guide for an interview, where he described why Google has taken the approach to testing Google Glass that they did.
Most projects like Google Glass and Android Wear usually get behind the scenes testing. The only way the public finds out about them are leaks and patent documents. However with Google Glass, a decision was made to lift the curtain and allow the public in on the dress rehearsals of the project. This seemed odd as many people now have a full view of the products failures and glitches. Though the biggest problem seems to be that as a “project” Google Glass could die at any given moment. Which means people who get their hopes up on the project or even spent big money on it, could be completely let down in the end. Still, Dale’s interview gives valid answers to the question of why Google has publicly tested Google Glass.
“We, as a company, could very easily have taken this technology into a conference room, wrapped the conference room in tin foil and develop this over the course of two to three years and released it en masse and basically said, ‘You know what? Deal with it. The technology is ready, and here it is.'” Dale continued to say, “What we decided to do instead was have a living laboratory for a very public experiment. Is it messy? Sure. And are there things that you couldn’t predict? Absolutely. But there is all of this feedback that you get from these Explorers and these use cases. We cannot only bake the feedback into the product, but bake it into our policies.”
While this topic was a big part of the interview, Dale also made comments as to the privacy issues surrounding Google Glass. “New technology always raises new issues, and it’s important that we have a public discussion about the benefits and challenges. But ultimately, perceptions evolve,” Dale continued to say, “Kodak cameras in the 1890’s were banned in public spaces, because people feared the idea of their image being captured without their permission.”
The interview has given some insight as to how Google benefits from making the testing years of Glass public. Overall, it seems they get to test the waters, not only as to the product and how it could work, but as to how the public will react to this new technology. Especially with something as new as Google Glass, it is imperative to know how the public reacts.