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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2643

Google Glass: paralyzed, dead or to be resurrected later?

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from London…

When Google announced that it was to stop producing Google Glass, the wearable ‘computer’ in the form of a pair of glasses, any more in its present form, the startling news raised many questions rather than responding to the existing core one – what really went wrong in a relatively short time?

The announcement, in this context, remains true to what Google is good at, while running the world’s most popular search engine – encoding the messages. No wonder, technological analysts see the phrase, ‘in its present form’, as the coded part.

In order to decode Google’s message, one has to take into account the sales of the relatively expensive Google Glass, the level of enthusiasm shown by software developers in creating apps, specifically for the device, privacy and security concerns shown by both the wearers and those who happen to be on its focus by accident and above all, the lukewarm response from the companies, which already have started using them.

As the initial hype died down, Google Glass, along with the entire project, started being swamped by less-than-flattering reviews.

The first, very, public blow came, when a woman in San Francisco claimed that she was attacked in a bar for wearing Google Glass. The bar in question, then banned Google Glass on its premises; the move was soon followed by other bars in the vicinity – and beyond. Afterwards, the list started growing without any sign of the trend being reversed. Google may have realized that it was reaching the ‘critical mass’ and announced it would stop selling it immediately.

On the surface, Google Glass seems to be a ‘cool’ gadget with quite a few futuristic features built into it. If it functioned as exactly said on the tin, it would have paved the way for taking away some of the things that we do with very little enthusiasm: clicking a button to take a photo; filling in an address bar to visit a web site; following a city map while walking in sync with it, to name but a few.

Much to Google’s frustration, however, the project didn’t catch on- and, hence was the abrupt termination in present form. Google has been somewhat cagey about the future of the project, though.

You may explore Google Glass in detail in the following frame:

On the plus side, Google Glass was sleek, sexy, novel and operable hands-free. On the downside, it was expensive, notoriously power consuming with very low battery life, mediocre camera with just 5MP and with not enough app to make it versatile and the worst being its potential to be intrusive in public.

The woman in San Francisco, who got attacked, has been recording the less-than-sober souls in the bar, according to eye witnesses, without getting the permission to do so. As the intrusive nature of the gadget spread in town, more and more businesses started banning Google Glass on their respective premises.

The combination of bad publicity, desertion by companies, security and privacy concerns of individuals, bad product reviews and falling sales may have prompted Google to abandon the project in its current form.

With this setback, Google joins a set of software companies, which got bruised in their attempts to embrace the hardware business, while deviating from the core businesses – software development. Some, for obvious reasons, now even fear for Google’s next big project – driverless cars.

No one doubts the immense contribution Google has been making to the sphere of technology in order to make our life easier. The tepid interest shown by the users, however, to a range of futuristic features, ranging from Apple Siri to Google’s microphone on the search bar, clearly indicate that we are not ready yet to keep our hands idle, while searching for the information we need at a given moment.

An anthropologist may see our strange behavior – selective love for technological advances, in defying infectious hype – from a different point of view. He or she might accounts for this tendency by associating it with fear at sub-conscious level against our limbs being atrophied by lack of use – in evolutionary sense, of course.

Google’s sudden announcement and the events that finally led to it, imply Google Glass is almost dead. Even if the company has got some vestiges of the initial ambition left in its collective psyche, Google needs a seismic shift in its approach to make Google Glass lovable by millions of ordinary consumers across the globe, not just the tech-savvy, who easily get intoxicated with hype.

- Asian Tribune -

Google Glass: paralyzed, dead or to be resurrected later?
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