It’s a sad day for the early adopter and tech trendsetters alike as Google officially decides to admit defeat and pull its Explorer programme… and the once so lauded Google Glass with it.
Google has done its best to break the news gently – offering to support those that had already invested in the technology and defying the critics, insisting the project was not dead but merely delayed – but this will be of little comfort to those that spent close to £1,000 to obtain the eyewear, not to mention the businesses that developed bespoke apps (struggling supermarket Tesco only announced their own Grocery Glass app this week).
So where did it all go wrong? The price tag – which wasn’t lowered when Glass was released to the consumer market – won’t have helped, for sure. In fact, a Google Glass poll conducted by LoveMyVouchers found that over half of the UK population thought £365 was too much for the product, let alone it’s eventual RRP that was almost three times as much.
However, more important than the cost was the design of the product itself – the same survey revealed that over two-thirds of respondents would have been too embarrassed to wear Google Glass in public. Meanwhile, those that dared to try (unaffectionately dubbed ‘glassholes’) were shot down by sceptics fearful of their potentially intrusive nature.
Let’s call a spade a spade – Google Glass is an ostentatious piece of kit and not exactly at the height of fashion. You will look ridiculous wearing one. But as this year’s CES wonderfully demonstrated, it’s the wearable tech that blends into the background and becomes invisible that is flourishing. Smart watches, smart shirts, Bluetooth tracking tags, heart rate monitoring plasters and solar-powered jewellery all seamlessly fit into everyday life without so much as a second look.
So, as dreams shatter and the deluded come to terms with its sudden passing, let us all lament the death of the giant that was promised a glory it could never hope to achieve.
This is the way Google Glass ends: not with a bang, but a whimper.