Sales of Google Glass glasses are permanently discontinued. Why did the project fail?

Sales of Google Glass glasses are permanently discontinued. Why did the project fail?

Google has announced that they are no longer selling their Glass Enterprise Edition smart glasses . On September 15, their support will end, and the 10-year history of the product will come to an end. But why did the sensational project, which personified the future, never become successful?

From research project to commercial device

Inside the “corporation of good” operates a semi-secret research center Google X (now just X). It was within its walls that the prototype of Google Glass was born. The accessory was shown to the public for the first time at the I/O 2012 conference . 

From that moment on, everyone dreamed of these glasses: from geeks to fashionistas. Time magazine named the gadget one of the best inventions of 2012. The glasses received a mention on The Simpsons and were featured in a comedy sketch shown on the American late-night show Saturday Night Live .

And already in 2013, a limited group of developers was offered the debut version of the glasses – Explorer Edition. The privilege of becoming one of the first users of Google Glass was valued at $1,500. However, the device was far from ready. Google co-founder Sergey Brin insisted on a public release.

But in 2015, the company still decided that the glasses were not suitable for ordinary consumers, and curtailed sales of the Explorer Edition. And two years later, the corporation offered Google Glass Enterprise Edition – a modification of glasses for use in production.

Google Glass is a U-shaped titanium frame, on the right side of which is attached a block with a touch control panel, bone conduction speaker and internal components. Above the right eye is a display with a special lens; it projects the image as if it were hanging in the air. There is also a camera installed. The gadget can be controlled not only through touch, but also by voice. There is also the possibility of using lenses, both sunscreen and corrective.

Specifications have improved with each subsequent release:

  • The original Explorer Edition (2012) offered the following stuffing: an ARM processor from Texas Instruments, 1 GB of RAM, a 16 GB drive. 
  • Second generation Explorer Edition: same but with 2 GB of RAM.
  • Google Glass Enterprise Edition (2017): Intel Atom, 2 GB RAM and 32 GB storage.
  • Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 (2019): Snapdragon XR1, 3GB RAM.

The open platform has attracted third-party developers to write applications for Google Glass. The owners of the accessory could use the services of Evernote, CNN, Strava, Foursquare and many others. Another device is able to skillfully show reminders and notifications from a smartphone, report the weather, record text through the built-in microphone, help navigate Google Maps and, of course, take pictures and videos.

So what’s the problem with glasses?

A product as innovative as Google Glass could not be launched on the market with an ordinary advertising campaign. The tech giant’s PR people acted differently: they handed out prototypes to celebrities. On the one hand, the bet played: the glasses received a lot of feedback from celebrities, so literally everyone knew about them. On the other hand, the company has not set a release date for the final version of the novelty. All 10 years, the innovative gadget was sold as part of the experiment.

However, the lack of a traditional advertising campaign seriously hindered the popularization of glasses among a mass audience. Few people understood what their chips were. They look futuristic, they are worn by techies and celebrities and… what’s next? What should the average consumer pay $1,500 for?

In addition to this, many have criticized Google Glass for violating privacy. The built-in camera was able to shoot videos and immediately send them to the cloud, and unnoticed by others.

However, in the future, the Google X team may still return with rethought points.