Google Glass

I really question anyone that thinks Google Glass is the future of computing, or even wearable computing.

To justify having a computer on your face for everyone to see would have to deliver spectacular results. Why do people wear glasses? Because they let you see. I think if Google Glass would let you see 10x better than 20:20 vision then it might be a compelling proposition.

The problem Google Glass has is that it simply isn’t much better than a smart phone, and it comes as a huge price – having something on your face.

The iPhone was a radical improvement over existing smart phones. Night and day. The iPhone then ushered an entire industry of incremental improvements from dozens of companies to lead us to where we are today. If you compare any current smart phone to the first iPhone – it’s much better, but it isn’t radically better, not compared to the device before the iPhone.

Google Glass isn’t a radical improvement over anything, which is okay as it is partly an entirely new product category.

But that product category – wearable computing – doesn’t have a killer use case. I think people today excuse that by explaining that the product is nascent, that other developers will come up with use cases, but I think you need to build a product around a use case, and then iterate on it.

Having some (very impressive) technology and then searching for a use case almost always ends in failure.

I think the mainstream desire for wearable computing is invisible – or hidden. Not only is that the opposite of Google Glass, it is basically a smart phone.

I do however think wearable computing has numerous interesting niche (albeit “billion dollar niches”) such as sporting (gopro), fitness (nike), outdoors (garmin et all) and so on. The problem with Google Glass in particular is that it does all of these much much worse than any of the existing solutions.

Side note: Having used Google Glass, kudos Google for releasing an actually nicely designed physical object. It felt futuristic using it, but futuristic “like I am in a movie” not “this is the future.”

 
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Erik Buell

Erik Buell quit his job in Harley Davidson R&D and founded Buell Motorcycle Company in 1983. The first four years of the company were focussed on releasing the RW750. Shortly after launch, the American Motorcycling Association... Continue →