What Happened to Google Glass?
Ever wonder what happened to Google’s smart glasses? Would you believe me if I told you that they were actually a success?
What is Google Glass?
Google Glass was Google’s attempt to introduce smart glasses to the public. Known internally by the software development team as “Project Glass”, the glasses were designed to provide a head-mounted display that wasn’t bulky or obtrusive.
The glasses were initially designed for the public to use, but they were later geared towards enterprise use due to a lack of consumer demand. After Google Glass’s initial launch in 2013 for a select group of beta testers, Google Glass models were sold to the public in 2014 for the steep price of $1,500.
For a number of reasons, though, the glasses didn’t sell well, so Google discontinued them in 2015.
In 2017, Google brought the glasses back with a renewed focus on targeting the enterprise side of the business. The Google Glass Enterprise Edition received an update in 2019; that updated version remains the company’s most current model.
Why did Google’s glasses fail?
Many people regard Google Glass as one of the biggest technology launch failures in the 21st century.
But what exactly went wrong? Well, that’s a far more complex question than it may seem.
Was the product too bulky? Yes.
Was it overpriced? Yes.
Was it unsafe? Yes.
With all that being said, the most notable reason for Google Glass’s failure was the lack of software designed for it. Google Glass’s app store launched with just 30 apps, and it only had around 70 apps to download after being on the market for a full two years.
This was because Google Glass had its own API that was designed just for its glasses, which was called Glass API. Mobile application developers struggled with this custom API because they had never coded with it before.
That meant companies had to dedicate time to train their software developers to use this API only to have their apps used by an incredibly limited Google Glass user pool. Most companies decided that just wasn’t worth their time.
In addition, it was against Google Glass’s terms of service to advertise on any Google Glass app, so it was virtually impossible to profit from a Google Glass app.
Developing an API that is easily accessible by developers is incredibly important when it comes to attracting application development. If companies don’t have to spend thousands learning a new API system, they are a lot more likely to spend time developing applications.
This issue was at the heart of Google Glass’s app struggles, but things did not stay that way forever.
How did the Google Glass end up recovering?
In 2017, Google released the Google Glass Enterprise Edition. The new Google Glass model included a lot of changes, including two additional gigs of RAM, an updated processor, and an entirely new camera system.
But the biggest change wasn’t hardware-related, it was the integration of Android OreoTM. With a new base for applications to be built upon, companies could actually develop applications for Google Glass. That prompted an explosion of application development, which in turn made Google Glass a more desirable product for consumers.
What does the future of Google Glass look like?
Google Glass has taken on several new partners in order to cement its value in the industry. With 35+ new providers, this business-to-business style Google Glass may become more of an industry standard within the next 10 years, with the manufacturing sector being the main consumer.
How can you get involved?
If the rise and fall of Google Glass seem interesting to you, a career in software development may be a good option.
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