Why Is Google Glass Losing Its Sheen?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Nov 17, 2014

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Even a few months ago, Google Glass created considerable hype in the world of wearables. These high-tech devices are reportedly losing momentum, as investors, customers, and developers are losing intrest in Google’s augmented reality headset these days.

While there was a buzz on the losing popularity of these devices, sources have recently revealed that even the developers have given up on their projects entirely, leave alone investors and companies that are no longer showing any interest.

According to Reuters, more than half of the 16 developers interviewed have abandoned their plans to produce software for Google Glass. A lack of customer interest and poor hardware specifications are de-motivating them from pursuing these devices. They see better prospects in focusing on enterprise software instead.

Several key Google employees instrumental to developing Glass have left the company in the last six months, including lead developer Babak Parviz, electrical engineering chief Adrian Wong, and Ossama Alami, director of developer relations. Moreover, a Glass funding consortium created by Google Ventures, quietly deleted its website, routing users to the main Glass site, according to reports.

Glass was the first project to emerge from Google’s X division, the secretive group tasked with developing “moonshot” products such as self-driving cars. It was said that glass and wearable devices overall amount to a new technology, as smartphones once were, that will likely take time to evolve into a product that clicks with consumers.

However, after an initial burst of enthusiasm, signs that consumers are giving up on Glass is becoming evident, says Reuters. No wonder Glass now sells on eBay for as little as half list price.

Google dubbed the first set of several thousand Glass users as “Explorers.” But as the Explorers hit the streets, they drew stares and jokes. Some people viewed the device, capable of surreptitious video recording, as an obnoxious privacy intrusion, deriding the once-proud Explorers as “Glassholes.”

Some developers recently have felt unsupported by investors and, at times, Google itself. The Glass Collective, the funding consortium co-run by Google Ventures, invested in only three or four small start-ups by the beginning of this year, a person familiar with the statistics told the news agency. Likewise, the lack of a launch date has given some developers the impression that Google still treats Glass as an experiment.

For example, mobile gaming company Glu Mobile, known for its popular “Kim Kardashian: Hollywood” title, was one of the first to launch a game on Glass. Spellista, a puzzler released a year ago, is still available, but Glu has discontinued work on it, a spokesman for the company said.

Still, there is some hope in the industry. Google’s mobile operating system, Android, currently has a stronghold on the mobile marketplace, owning approximately 86 percent of all devices worldwide. Likewise, Google still remains the top search engine among all others.

However, this isn’t the first time one of Google’s pet projects has failed, believe experts. Sales of Google’s Chromebooks have nearly hit rock bottom, offering little to sway users from lower-priced, Windows-based netbooks, two-in-ones, and Android, Windows, and iOS tablets. Google had to go so far as to post a series of instructions on how to avoid being creepy, and they hired a former Calvin Klein executive to try to add a little high-fashion buzz to Glass, says a Tech Crunch report.

With skepticism coming from all quarters, experts believe that while Glass may find some specialized, even lucrative, uses in the workplace, its prospects of becoming a consumer hit in the near future are slim.

Photo courtesy: Techtree.com