Google Glass is an interesting concept that has made a lot of waves, if not a whole lot of sales. The emergence of the futuristic eyewear technology from one of the biggest software and hardware companies in the world has drawn a lot of attention from the media and tech fans, but since its introduction, Google Glass has been plagued with a number of missteps that now leave its future dubious. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to learn from the history of Google Glass. Here are five lessons the wearable technology has taught us in the past few years.
1. Privacy still matters to people
Glasshole: A person who constantly talks to their Google Glass, ignoring the outside world.
That definition is courtesy of Urban Dictionary. It’s a pretty good one for the name given to Google Glass wearers by the unimpressed, but it leaves out probably the number one reason people are opposed to Glass: it invades their privacy. A Google Glass Explorer, the descriptor for someone who purchased an early (and expensive) version of the hardware, described being harassed in February of 2014 for wearing her Glass. Sarah Slocum went to a bar in San Francisco and, while showing it off, had her Google Glass literally taken off her face by someone unhappy with the new tech. She was able to recover her hardware but, when she went back inside the bar, she found that her purse had been stolen. There’s a really visceral reaction to Glass from a not-small percentage of people afraid of being recorded without their consent. The Bay Area incident is a fairly extreme example of the problems that can be caused if people feel like their privacy is being violated.
2. Technology needs to be subtle
As amazing as the technology is, Google Glass still looks like you’re wearing a small computer on your face. That’s less than ideal, to say the least. The most successful products tend to be ones that fit seamlessly into people’s lives, instead of sticking out. A number of Google Glass owners say they’re leaving their Glass at home nowadays because they’re embarrassed to be seen in public with it.
3. Third-Party support is crucial
One of the major occurrences that made people doubt the future of Google Glass was when Twitter stopped updating its app for its operated system. That’s the most prominent service to discontinue its support, but not the only one, and even more are likely to drop out if progress isn’t made soon. That so many people think this signals doom for Google Glass highlights how important it is that smart devices inspire confidence in those who are adding extra value to their product. Namely, the third-party software developers. In this case, Twitter lost hope in Google Glass, and that’s cause for concern. Be sure to inspire confidence in the people who provide value for you.
4. You have to be patient
Google Glass probably debuted too early. It was released as a Beta product, with more than its share of software issues in the past two years. Even worse, the people Google disappointed were the ones most excited to use its product. The Glass Explorers who paid a lofty $1,500 for the privilege of owning a Google Glass before the rest of the world dealt with all the kinks that come with a beta and then some. Keep in mind that, either in the business world or your personal life, it’s often better to deliver something of high quality eventually than something of shoddy quality a little sooner.
5. Something doesn’t have to be successful to be inspirational
No, Google Glass wasn’t a success. But it certainly inspired developers to continue working on wearable technology. Google itself has their Android Wear, and the Apple Watch is supposed to come out at some point in 2015. Even though Google Glass doesn’t seem to have a bright future ahead of it (after all, creator Babak Parviz left the project and Google for a job at Amazon), the work was hardly in vain. Remember that, even if something you do doesn’t take off initially, some ideas just don’t die.