I try to abstain from public commentary about the latest products and technology, especially when it’s negative. But in this case I can’t take it anymore.
Journalists, early adopters and the like are falling all over themselves to extend lavish praise on Google Glass. It’s like they are competing to see who can do the most over-the-top, overwhelmingly positive review, in hopes of making people at Google happy. Other than practical folks like John Gruber, I’ve seen little to no skepticism of Glass.
Here’s a recent article written by Joshua Topolsky of The Verge:
This is Apple-level design. No, in some ways it’s beyond what Apple has been doing recently. It’s daring, inventive, playful, and yet somehow still ultimately simple. The materials feel good in your hand and on your head, solid but surprisingly light. Comfortable. If Google keeps this up, soon we’ll be saying things like “this is Google-level design.
Puke. I find Glass to be ugly, impractical and completely ridiculous.
Let’s look at the facts. Google has never had a successful product that people pay for. They are in the advertising business. One could argue for Google Apps being a successful paid product, of which I pay for, but certainly all their hardware has been a complete failure in the marketplace; from Nexus all the way through likely the biggest failure to date, Google TV.
What Google has accomplished with Glass and all their other products is brilliant engineering. There are few companies better at a proof of concept. The self-driving car is among the most impressive, and I’d put Glass on that list as well. My problem is that the wow-factor stops at brilliant engineering. It’s like watching someone demo technology at TED. I’m like, “Oh wow, that’s amazing! It will be great when someone makes this technology useful.”
Google seems to lose interest once the engineering is finished, which leads to products that aren’t polished and have an extraordinary ineptitude for delivering the right customer experience once someone does fork over their hard-earned money. Don’t even get me started on their inexplicable approach to customer service, or lack thereof … they simply don’t know what it means to make products that make people happy. In my opinion, engineering is only about 10% of the solution.
This is what journalists don’t understand about Apple. Apple’s hardware is great only because the experience (software) is great. The experience lines up with (exceeds, in their case) the promises the product makes before the purchase. Nothing is or ever has been “Apple-like” about Google’s products because the experience falls flat.
Although I haven’t used one, I can easily tell you why I’ll never buy Glass (aside from the likely $1,500 price tag) . Talking to a computer is seldom the most efficient or comfortable way to use one. I use Siri maybe once a week. I can only imagine my morning commute on the bus, with 15 different people talking to the screen on their head just trying to check email. I much prefer taking out my phone and pointing to my email. I don’t have to use Glass to know practical, day-to-day use will be a bad experience.
Can you imagine having a conversation with someone that’s wearing this thing? I’d feel like they aren’t even paying attention. And I thought people wearing a bluetooth headset were weird.
In addition, I’ve yet to see one thing Glass can do better than any other product. What device does it replace? A GoPro?
I could be all wrong about this product. If so, more power to Google and what they’ve created. I just believe even with the way the product is being marketed and over-hyped, there’s no way it lives up to expectations. It will go down as another failure supported by their ad revenues, simply written off as “ahead of it’s time.”