Just like many other companies, it is that time of year for Google to giving out its earnings call. Google had some impressive numbers, as usual, but one area they discussed in detail was their Google Glass project. Google, while not abandoning the project – even though they canceled the Explorer Program – was going to have to head in a different direction. Earlier this month they suspended sales of Glass, "graduated" it from the Google X Labs, and placed it under the guidance of NEST CEO Tony Fadell.
Google CFO Patrick Pichette said at the earnings call, "In other cases, when teams aren't able to hit hurdles, but we think there's still a lot of promise, we might ask them to take a pause and take the time to reset their strategy, as we recently did in the case of Glass. And in those cases where a project doesn't have the impact we hoped for, we do take the tough calls. We make the decision to cancel them, and you've seen us do this time and time again."
Entering into a new field is always a chore – is there a real need for the product, will it enhance the users' life experience, is it easy to use, how will the public accept the product and are there real, practical uses for the device. Even Glass users, while they thought the idea was innovative, had questions of their own. Everybody viewed his or her use differently and you really had to use it routinely to get the hang of it. Battery life was also a problem for many users, as well as they wanted to explore other options.
Glass also presented public awareness issues from almost day one – it was a controversy before it even came on the market for sale…there were privacy issues, infringement issues, invasion issues and some establishments even banned their use. However, there was one area where a product like Glass could really be useful – the business or enterprise area – and back in December, Google announced that they would be looking into moving Glass from a consumer to enterprise product.
During Google's testing, it was clear that the universities, hospitals, police, firefighters, airlines, construction and rescue workers and special needs people would benefit most from the use of Glass. Using Glass, a professor at Oxford could lecture at Harvard. A world renown surgeon could help in the surgery at a local hospital, guiding the doctors actions or answering their questions. Firefighters could send back live feed of their rescue attempts or look for the 'hotspot' where the fire started. Special software allows Glass to help track an autistic child to focus on a face. It may be true that Google had to rethink their Glass project and turn it into a new direction – but a failure…it does not look that way to me.
Please hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know what you think of Glass. Is it a product that you would still be interested in purchasing in the $300 – $500 range? As always, we would love to hear from you.