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4 Reasons Google Glass Failed

A wearable no one really wanted to wear

Michael Cruickshank
4 Reasons Google Glass Failed© 2023 Google

Google Glass was by all means an amazing product, at least in terms of its technological capabilities. Nonetheless, it never reached a mass market audience. A number of poor decisions by the company as well as a little bit of bad luck, worked together to produce a wearable device which no one really wanted (or needed) to wear. Read our list below of the 4 most important factors which contributed to Google Glass’s rejection by the public:

1. Voice Controls

The biggest problem which many had with the Google Glass was its voice controls. From the very beginning, the device’s “Ok Glass” activation phrase was openly mocked by web commentators. The primary issue that many took with this was the fact this kind of control would be incredibly intrusive. As well as not working in crowded environments, it would also be completely inappropriate in offices, meetings and other ‘quiet’ spaces.

Image: © 2014 Google

2. Too Expensive, Exclusive

The first Google Glass products was only released to so-called Explorers. These people were hand picked by Google and were meant to discover the device’s true potential. After this strategy failed, the company made them available to everybody, but only for the huge price of $1500 - something completely unaffordable for most people. This expensive pricing, as well as the revelations that the device itself had less than $100 worth of parts, led to it being viewed as an expensive white elephant.

3. Poorly Marketed

The Explorer program was also flawed in the way it was marketed. Google Glass was shown off in a very similar way to the GoPro - in videos taken by people wearing the device doing extreme sports and other interesting activities. This was a bad marketing decision, as the main target market for the product was tech enthusiasts and the wider public who 99% of the time would be using the device in a city environment.

Image: © 2014 Google

4. Unfortunate Release Timing

A final problem which may have killed Google Glass was its timing. Hitting the public consciousness around the same time as the NSA leaks, the device was coolly received. People were understandably concerned about the way in which an always-recording Google Glass wearer would impact the privacy of the people around them. Furthermore, many saw it as yet another increase in level of surveillance on ordinary citizens.

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