About fifteen years ago, the founders of Google sought to make even the most obscure of information accessible to anyone at the touch of a button. Today, the search giant seeks to make information available directly at the line of sight.
From its privacy-intrusion capabilities to an Android-based platform geared for innovation, Google Glass presents a new paradigm for how humans interact with technology. Despite the device’s disruptive potential for augmented reality, Glass has garnered equal amounts of ridicule and fear as respect and curiosity from society. The wearable tech’s biggest hindrance to its mainstream adoption is not technical, but social: to convince people to wear Glass.
If Google wants to make the future of wearable technology, then it needs to figure out how to obtain mainstream adoption of the device.
Stop designing Glass for nerds.
As sci-fi as Glass currently looks, the device arouses as much as curiosity as it does in making people feel awkward and uncomfortable. Although there are limited units of Glass released to the public, Glass has received so much negative public reaction that the technology really poses an unnecessary, and potentially dangerous, ‘us vs. them’ mentality in society. Despite some claims that the Explorers program has more or less been Google’s social experiment, the search giant needs to take an Apple-like approach in designing future prototypes of Glass for an inevitably, ever-increasing user base. In developing a novel Google-level concept of design, the company needs to make Glass such that the value that the device brings for its user trumps any notion of privacy and security concerns. To garner mainstream adoption of Glass, Google needs to make Glass into a product that people will fall in love with. That is no easy job for a company that places technical expertise over design, but its recent strategic partnership with Luxottica, an Italian firm that makes eyewear for the likes of Ray-Ban, Prada, and Dolce & Gabbana, is an excellent start in making Glass fashionably trendy.
Viral market the potential benefits of Glass technology users.
At the 2012 Google I/O conference, the search giant made very strategic moves in announcing one of its most secretive projects to the public and establishing the Google Glass Explorers Program, first for developers, and then for selected consumers. With Glass, Google is pushing the frontiers of wearable technology, and in the spirit of the lean product development, has recognized the need to ignite conversations in order to obtain invaluable customer feedback from early adopters. Although the Explorer Program has revealed a variety of use cases for Glass, the company needs to make a greater marketing effort in showcasing how Glass will benefit humanity on a very personal, if not case-by-case, basis. The Glass platform clearly unveils the device’s potential to designers and developers in terms of creating unique, highly customized user experiences, but Google needs to clearly demonstrate how Glass technology will enrich the lives of its future users. Otherwise, current widespread concerns of Glass’ threats to consumer and privacy will stifle mainstream adoption of the wearable device.
Prepare the world for a future of ubiquitous computing and wearable technology, today.
A world where everyone wears Google Glass will be a much different world than it is today. Even the limited release of Glass today has challenged consumer notions of privacy and security, and the search giant can no longer afford to ignore the ethical, legal, and social ramifications of its highly disruptive technology. A future predominated by ubiquitous computing and wearable technology, such as Glass, is inevitable. Google needs to take efforts in preparing and educating the masses for that future, if not at least for obtaining the mainstream adoption of Glass.
“O.K., Glass. Google will you be the future of wearable technology?”
“Yes, that appears to be the brave new world.”