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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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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Why hasn't Google Glass been released yet?

I was invited to the Google public demonstration here in London.

I used the device for about an hour.

My thoughts:
It gets really hot.
It is heavy.
It has a very short battery life.
It crashes quite a lot.
It gave me a headache.
It took a few hours for my eyes to feel normal again after wearing (it felt like I was cross eyed).
I wear contact lenses, because I don't want to wear glasses.

It was fun for about half an hour.
It is a gimmick not a product.
It doesn't solve any problems, but it is inconvenient.
Voice interfaces don't work very well in public.
Voice recognition worked well for me (but not for my GF).
It would make a useful tool for certain industries, but has no consumer value.

The Google PR team got angry with me when I listed my gripes with the product on camera.

I'd pay £15 for the product I tried. Google didn't think that price point was “achievable”.

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Why hasn't Google Glass been released yet?

Because Google understands how to run a technology company.

Early adopters of a new device are never going to make a company money. There just aren't enough of them. Early adopters are worth their weight in gold not because they buy your product, but because they give you feedback about where you went wrong. And that's incredibly valuable.

A new gizmo is always going to get things wrong. You never make a ton of new gizmos; the first version is only for early adopters and its main purpose is to test your market.

The first iteration of Google Glass got a lot wrong. It's ugly. It's underpowered. The user interface is a disaster. The basic design is a catastrophe–the only way you could look any derpier wearing it is if you're simultaneously riding a Segway while wearing a Devo T-shirt. There was social backlash (early users were called “glassholes”). A lot of people saw the camera functionality as creepy. There were security problems galore. Developers rushed to stay away from it.

And all that is okay. It's okay because Google understands how to be a technology company. They put out a small number of Glass headsets at a high price, and then they listened. They listened to users say the user interface sucked moose balls and the developers say there wasn't enough RAM and the reporters say they were ugly and the movie theaters say they were banning them because of the camera.

And now they're taking all that feedback and they're re-engineering the device, because that's how successful technology companies design products. All that feedback, even the complaints, is money in the bank. It tells them what to do so that the first mass-produced run doesn't suck.

See Questions On Quora

  

Why hasn't Google Glass been released yet?

Because Google understands how to run a technology company.

Early adopters of a new device are never going to make a company money. There just aren't enough of them. Early adopters are worth their weight in gold not because they buy your product, but because they give you feedback about where you went wrong. And that's incredibly valuable.

A new gizmo is always going to get things wrong. You never make a ton of new gizmos; the first version is only for early adopters and its main purpose is to test your market.

The first iteration of Google Glass got a lot wrong. It's ugly. It's underpowered. The user interface is a disaster. The basic design is a catastrophe–the only way you could look any derpier wearing it is if you're simultaneously riding a Segway while wearing a Devo T-shirt. There was social backlash (early users were called “glassholes”). A lot of people saw the camera functionality as creepy. There were security problems galore. Developers rushed to stay away from it.

And all that is okay. It's okay because Google understands how to be a technology company. They put out a small number of Glass headsets at a high price, and then they listened. They listened to users say the user interface sucked moose balls and the developers say there wasn't enough RAM and the reporters say they were ugly and the movie theaters say they were banning them because of the camera.

And now they're taking all that feedback and they're re-engineering the device, because that's how successful technology companies design products. All that feedback, even the complaints, is money in the bank. It tells them what to do so that the first mass-produced run doesn't suck.

See question on Quora

  

I'm considering getting one of the Apple Watches (low-end/sport) next month, but enjoy wearing my Tag Heuer watch already. Would it be too weird and subject to public scorn to wear both watches at the same time on both wrists? Could that possibly "become a thing" for those that want to wear two?

If you have to ask others their opinion maybe you are not cut out to be a trendsetter. IMHO you would look like a dick. But I am not trendy and think that most hipsters look pretty daft. They probably think I look like an old fart.

So if you don't mind public ridicule go for it – you might start a new fad.

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I'm considering getting one of the Apple Watches (low-end/sport) next month, but enjoy wearing my Tag Heuer watch already. Would it be too weird and subject to public scorn to wear both watches at the same time on both wrists? Could that possibly "become a thing" for those that want to wear two?

That is up to you. However, I would recommend at least ponying up for a stainless Apple Watch with one of the better bands. Then wear the Apple watch on your non-dominant wrist, with the face on the inside. (This is how I wear my watch anyway as it is easier to view.) This way people will mostly see the band.

Personally, however, I recommend that when you go to a social function, leave the Appel Watch at home. In fact, leave the smartphone at home (or at least in the car) so you can focus in on the event/company without distractions. That could be a real trend setter there!

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