Earlier this week, Google made headlines with its contact lenses aimed at helping diabetics monitor their glucose levels. The lens, which has a shrunk down chip and sensor as well as an antenna thinner than a human hair, has techies raving about how innovative Google is.
And that’s cool. I applaud Google trying to help people who have diabetes, a disease that continues to effect millions around the world.
Om Malik, who has diabetes, wrote a piece on his thoughts. This part stuck out the most:
I cannot get over what seems to me a tone-deaf approach by Google’s scientists. It also highlights Google’s fundamental challenge: it fails to think about people as people, instead it treats them as an academic or an engineering problem. Instead of trying to understand the needs of actual people, they emerge with an elegant technological solution.
What Om effectively says in this piece is that while Google is thinking ahead, they aren’t thinking of everyday people.
And I agree. They’re creating a product that has the likelihood of being mass produced as a flying car. The truth is, with all the hurdles, let alone knowing how well it actually works, we have no idea if this will ever see the light of day.
This, to me, is the other side of Google that gets tons of attention for things that make very little practical sense, at least for now.
Just look at Chromebook Pixel for example. How many people are really going to spend $1300 on a high-resolution Chromebook? Are techies going to? No so much. Are everyday consumers going to? Hell no. Why even build it? To prove that they can build a high-resolution laptop for $1300? At this point, any hardware manufacturer can do that. Just go to your local Best Buy.
Or what about Google Glass? If Glass dropped by half, or even a quarter of its current price, would consumers buy it? I’d wager that most wouldn’t because no price drop would change the awkwardness of wearing one in public.
But at least they’re trying, right? Absolutely. I’m glad they are. But it would be awesome if the brilliant minds at Google worked on something everyone reading this would actually want to buy. Not something we probably won’t see for years, maybe even decades.
That’s really what I’d like to see from one of the worlds most innovative companies. Show me a product that I can get excited about and then get in line to buy. Not something that promises incredible achievements, with no proof, and no timetable.