Why has Google not released Google Glass to consumers?

I think ultimately, Google Glass was/is a bad product. Google could have kept working on it, made it smaller, battery life longer, all that stuff, but they’d still have a bad product.

Google Glass is worn like a pair of glasses, I don’t wear glasses, so am I supposed to start just to use Google Glass? And what does Google Glass even do? Notifications from Facebook? Show me my email? Text messages? I mean, it’s just trivial rubbish, if I’m being honest.

Maybe directions, but how often do I need directions? Walking almost never, in my car, often, but I’ve got my TomTom for that. Am I supposed to keep a pair of glasses charged up at all times just in case I need directions, and for some reason I don’t want to use my phone or TomTom?

It had a camera, which I can see applications in the porn industry, but any other camera could be used for that.

Out and about, what am I actually supposed to do with that camera? Make a little movie of me walking about, ordering a coffee etc? What actually is the point?

Google Glass just didn’t really serve any purpose, it was a solution in search of a problem.

I like the idea of crazy/stupid ideas being worked on, but the balance should err on the side of crazy.

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Why has Google not released Google Glass to consumers?

I think ultimately, Google Glass was/is a bad product. Google could have kept working on it, made it smaller, battery life longer, all that stuff, but they’d still have a bad product.

Google Glass is worn like a pair of glasses, I don’t wear glasses, so am I supposed to start just to use Google Glass? And what does Google Glass even do? Notifications from Facebook? Show me my email? Text messages? I mean, it’s just trivial rubbish, if I’m being honest.

Maybe directions, but how often do I need directions? Walking almost never, in my car, often, but I’ve got my TomTom for that. Am I supposed to keep a pair of glasses charged up at all times just in case I need directions, and for some reason I don’t want to use my phone or TomTom?

It had a camera, which I can see applications in the porn industry, but any other camera could be used for that.

Out and about, what am I actually supposed to do with that camera? Make a little movie of me walking about, ordering a coffee etc? What actually is the point?

Google Glass just didn’t really serve any purpose, it was a solution in search of a problem.

I like the idea of crazy/stupid ideas being worked on, but the balance should err on the side of crazy.

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What makes spectacles from Snapchat different from Google glass?

Evan Spiegel is betting Spectacles will be very different from Google Glass, and in many ways he’s right.

Google Glass was a failure primarily because

  1. they were never socially accepted.
  2. they didn’t have a clear use case
  3. they were insanely expensive, and seen as an elite toy

Spectacles aim to take all of those reasons away and come up with a product that people want to use, similar to a go-pro.

Given how popular GoPros have been, their head-mounting devices, and how popular Snapchat is, there’s a good chance Spectacles will succeed, despite encountering many (predictable) v1 issues.


SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE

Google Glass was creepy. People didn’t like the fact that you could be recorded at any time without really knowing whether you were being recorded. I believe this is / was the biggest barrier to glass / AR in general.

On top of that, as a more general computing platform, the fact that you could do anything or be looking at anything through Google Glass (ie a website, videos, etc) makes people uncomfortable.

Basically Google Glass was looking at your smartphone the whole time—rude, offputting, and not a fun experience for anyone you were hanging with.

Finally, they looked totally weird and futuristic. Not something you want to wear everyday.

Contrast that with Spectacles, which have a number of advantages:

  • They aren’t a general purpose computer; they take video which goes to Snapchat and ultimately disappears (although with Memories that advantage is changing)
  • They look much cooler. Snapchat is admittedly a more ‘bro’-y company, but they’re definitely ‘cooler’ than Google from a social perspective. The styling of the glasses highlights this
  • You know when you’re being recorded: a white circle of LEDs is more visible (we’ll see exactly how visible it is when it rolls out).
  • They are 1/10th the cost. You can buy a pair at the same cost as Ray Bans

CLEAR USE CASES

Google Glass didn’t have a single clear use case beyond what your phone could do—in this way it is similar to Apple’s Watch: another way to consume smartphone content. Watch has been more successful (though not many people would call it a smashing success) because watch feels more discrete and less creepy.

Spectacles improve by being single function: you take   

What makes spectacles from Snapchat different from Google glass?

Evan Spiegel is betting Spectacles will be very different from Google Glass, and in many ways he’s right.

Google Glass was a failure primarily because

  1. they were never socially accepted.
  2. they didn’t have a clear use case
  3. they were insanely expensive, and seen as an elite toy

Spectacles aim to take all of those reasons away and come up with a product that people want to use, similar to a go-pro.

Given how popular GoPros have been, their head-mounting devices, and how popular Snapchat is, there’s a good chance Spectacles will succeed, despite encountering many (predictable) v1 issues.


SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE

Google Glass was creepy. People didn’t like the fact that you could be recorded at any time without really knowing whether you were being recorded. I believe this is / was the biggest barrier to glass / AR in general.

On top of that, as a more general computing platform, the fact that you could do anything or be looking at anything through Google Glass (ie a website, videos, etc) makes people uncomfortable.

Basically Google Glass was looking at your smartphone the whole time—rude, offputting, and not a fun experience for anyone you were hanging with.

Finally, they looked totally weird and futuristic. Not something you want to wear everyday.

Contrast that with Spectacles, which have a number of advantages:

  • They aren’t a general purpose computer; they take video which goes to Snapchat and ultimately disappears (although with Memories that advantage is changing)
  • They look much cooler. Snapchat is admittedly a more ‘bro’-y company, but they’re definitely ‘cooler’ than Google from a social perspective. The styling of the glasses highlights this
  • You know when you’re being recorded: a white circle of LEDs is more visible (we’ll see exactly how visible it is when it rolls out).
  • They are 1/10th the cost. You can buy a pair at the same cost as Ray Bans

CLEAR USE CASES

Google Glass didn’t have a single clear use case beyond what your phone could do—in this way it is similar to Apple’s Watch: another way to consume smartphone content. Watch has been more successful (though not many people would call it a smashing success) because watch feels more discrete and less creepy.

Spectacles improve by being single function: you take video.   

Would smart contacts be a more successful product than Google Glass?

The value of technology is based on utility. If implemented well, smart contacts would obviously have significantly greater utility than Google Glass.

But Google Glass was a spectacularly poorly implemented tech.

The idea of a basic head mounted display currently has value in niche applications where (ugly) obtrusive head-gear would not be a problem. Someone wearing Glass on a production line, or in a warehouse might prefer this to carrying a screen with them.

But Glass was not pitched at niche applications, hubris led Google to act as if it was a consumer ready project. It really was not.

To be consumer ready, we'd need…

  • Unobtrusive and stylish appearance
  • Good battery performance (and ideally)
  • good quality AR abilities. Wide FOV optics

I think that tech is a decade away.

The smart contact version of the same technology is even further away, and might be beyond the horizon of possibility. But there's no doubt that if we could pop something onto our eyes which gave us the power to see information, that has remarkable possibilities.

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Why did Google Glass fail?

of Tony Fadell, whose track record as Nest CEO and Apple product designer are good omens for Glass’ reincarnation. Fadell’s team took Glass’ initial failure as an opportunity to pivot the product away from a consumer market to other industries where the complex technology would be more relevant, including the doctor’s office. This summer Google issued a quiet relaunch of Glass, not as a trendy wearable device, but as a business tool equipped to save lives in the emergency room.

So what can entrepreneurs and designers learn from Google Glass’ about-face?

  1. Turn setbacks into opportunities: As a tool used exclusively in business settings, Google has found a way around the initial issue of privacy. Consumers were not happy with Glass’ ability to discreetly record video in public places. The new iteration of Glass will be used in business settings for internal video transmission. Picture a doctor live streaming a surgery to colleagues and medical students, or a technical engineer in the field receiving live feedback from colleagues in the office. In these cases, live-stream video will be an invaluable tool.
  2. Learn from Criticism: Fadell has been tasked with making Glass more user-friendly and attractive. Reported updates include making the device waterproof, foldable, and equipped with a better battery. If a consumer version is relaunched in the future, Glass will likely take into account its many aesthetic criticisms, too.
  3. Target the right audience: While it didn’t work for a consumer market, Glass has found a new home with enormous potential in the medical, manufacturing, and energy fields. According to research firm Gartner, the market for head-mounted displays is expected to reach a cumulative 25 million units by 2018. The lesson here is that sometimes what begins as a B2C product evolves into B2B applications.

From its not-so-humble beginnings as a celebrity accessory to its quieter success as a lifesaving tool in the ER, Google Glass has had an interesting journey so far, with more pivots likely to come as the product continues to evolve.

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Why did Google Glass fail?

of Tony Fadell, whose track record as Nest CEO and Apple product designer are good omens for Glass’ reincarnation. Fadell’s team took Glass’ initial failure as an opportunity to pivot the product away from a consumer market to other industries where the complex technology would be more relevant, including the doctor’s office. This summer Google issued a quiet relaunch of Glass, not as a trendy wearable device, but as a business tool equipped to save lives in the emergency room.

So what can entrepreneurs and designers learn from Google Glass’ about-face?

  1. Turn setbacks into opportunities: As a tool used exclusively in business settings, Google has found a way around the initial issue of privacy. Consumers were not happy with Glass’ ability to discreetly record video in public places. The new iteration of Glass will be used in business settings for internal video transmission. Picture a doctor live streaming a surgery to colleagues and medical students, or a technical engineer in the field receiving live feedback from colleagues in the office. In these cases, live-stream video will be an invaluable tool.
  2. Learn from Criticism: Fadell has been tasked with making Glass more user-friendly and attractive. Reported updates include making the device waterproof, foldable, and equipped with a better battery. If a consumer version is relaunched in the future, Glass will likely take into account its many aesthetic criticisms, too.
  3. Target the right audience: While it didn’t work for a consumer market, Glass has found a new home with enormous potential in the medical, manufacturing, and energy fields. According to research firm Gartner, the market for head-mounted displays is expected to reach a cumulative 25 million units by 2018. The lesson here is that sometimes what begins as a B2C product evolves into B2B applications.

From its not-so-humble beginnings as a celebrity accessory to its quieter success as a lifesaving tool in the ER, Google Glass has had an interesting journey so far, with more pivots likely to come as the product continues to evolve.

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How does Google Glass project the image onto the glass?

This answer is originally from: Sid Hazra's answer to How are pico-projectors built? How do I build one? I reproduce the relevant section here.


[Please see the catwig page for better system overview images while noting that their teardown of the optical module is incomplete]

Lucky us, I was a Glass explorer and received my GG in 2013. I did tell Google I was going to use it for hardware and Human-Computer Interaction research. Anyway, I decided to do a partial disassembly of just the optical module while keeping the system alive. Before opening, I knew that we were looking for a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) display panel which needs polarized light and commonly uses fly-eye lenses and polarization compensation systems along with a polarizing beam splitter. One thing to note is that the Google Glass is not a pico-projection system – it is a Near Eye Display. The difference is critical because it helps shrink the size of the optics required for the Glass.


Description of parts

Figure 1: (A) shows GG under test with external casing removed. (B) shows optical subsystem prior to disassembly. (C) shows the same after parts are removed [Diffuser mistaken as wave plate]. (D) shows the optical cavity and a powered on LED (only red is lit).

Figure 1 shows the setup and parts and the tools of the trade. The Glass is not particularly difficult to take apart. In fact it requires lesser force to take the Glass apart than the displays on most smartphone.

The LED is an RGB array (see below) butted against the ‘Optics cover-plate’. There are four removable components under this optics cover plate (in sequence, from top to bottom) –

  1. Wedge-shaped reflector cover for fly-eye (outside surface is normal sheet metal, inner light-facing surface has mirrored, Aluminum coated finish),
  2. Wedge-shaped fly-eye microlens array to homogenize/recirculate   

How does Google Glass project the image onto the glass?

This answer is originally from: Sid Hazra's answer to How are pico-projectors built? How do I build one? I reproduce the relevant section here.


[Please see the catwig page for better system overview images while noting that their teardown of the optical module is incomplete]

Lucky us, I was a Glass explorer and received my GG in 2013. I did tell Google I was going to use it for hardware and Human-Computer Interaction research. Anyway, I decided to do a partial disassembly of just the optical module while keeping the system alive. Before opening, I knew that we were looking for a Liquid Crystal on Silicon (LCoS) display panel which needs polarized light and commonly uses fly-eye lenses and polarization compensation systems along with a polarizing beam splitter. One thing to note is that the Google Glass is not a pico-projection system – it is a Near Eye Display. The difference is critical because it helps shrink the size of the optics required for the Glass.


Description of parts

Figure 1: (A) shows GG under test with external casing removed. (B) shows optical subsystem prior to disassembly. (C) shows the same after parts are removed [Diffuser mistaken as wave plate]. (D) shows the optical cavity and a powered on LED (only red is lit).

Figure 1 shows the setup and parts and the tools of the trade. The Glass is not particularly difficult to take apart. In fact it requires lesser force to take the Glass apart than the displays on most smartphone.

The LED is an RGB array (see below) butted against the ‘Optics cover-plate’. There are four removable components under this optics cover plate (in sequence, from top to bottom) –

  1. Wedge-shaped reflector cover for fly-eye (outside surface is normal sheet metal, inner light-facing surface has mirrored, Aluminum coated finish),
  2. Wedge-shaped fly-eye microlens array to homogenize/recirculate   

Will wearable tech succeed or flop?

Will wearable tech take off? Yes. Not in its present form; its present form is crude, primitive, not terribly useful, bulky, and extremely limited.

The first cell phones looked like this:

They had extremely limited market penetration, because they were expensive and clumsy.

That's about where wearable technology is right now.

But just wait! When we move from Google Glass to something like this:

then yes, it is going to skyrocket. We will, I think, one day see contact lenses with built-in communication, GPS/wifi, heads-up displays, and cameras. And those will likely be very popular indeed.

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