Several years ago in April 2012, Google’s Sergey Brin publicly announced Project Glass; a smart wearable device worn as a pair of glasses, designed to bring the concept of augmented reality into the users’ everyday lives. Since then, Google Glass has had numerous ups and downs, and the concept itself has been criticized on countless occasions due to privacy concerns and other reasons. Needless to say, through the years Google Glass hasn’t materialized as a consumer-grade product, and at the moment the future of Glass is uncertain. There may be numerous reasons why Google Glass didn’t really catch on, but according to Misfit founder and Fossil Vice President Sonny Vu, the reason why Google Glass failed is because it was designed to sit “on the wrong part of the head.”
For the past few years, Sonny Vu has been a supporter of the concept of “hearables”, or smart wearable devices designed to fit in the ear. For instance, prior to Misfit’s merger with Fossil earlier this year, Sonny Vu’s company took the wraps off the Misfit Specter at CES 2016: a hearable smart device equipped with fitness tracking technology. However, the company has “paused work on Specter” after Misfit merged with Fossil, and as yet, Fossil remains “very focused on wrist worn wearables” including fitness trackers and hybrid smartwatches. But Sonny Vu remains a supporter of hearable technology, and interestingly enough, the VP recently shared his thoughts on Google Glass and the reasons why he thinks it failed to leave a bigger mark. "The moment Google Glass came out it took me a bit to think about it and I’m like ‘that’s brilliant, it’s just on the wrong part of the head’." Sonny Vu is of the opinion that consumers are simply reluctant to wear this type of technology, and that Google "forgot that putting stuff in on your eyes is weird." "Society doesn’t have the social IQ to handle that". However, according to Sonny Vu, if Google "would have done Glass and put all that engineering firepower onto the ear, they would be so far ahead of where they are now".
Sure enough, hearable technology is beginning to catch on, and will probably continue to do so as more powerful batteries will allow for more compact and comfortable designs. In fact, according to a recent report, overall market revenue in the growing hearable market is likely to exceed $40 billion in 2020. Meanwhile, Google Glass continues to be used by researchers and developers in a variety of areas including medicine, but as far as the consumer market is concerned, the future of Glass remains unknown.