Expectations and executions
I‘ve wrote this note just 2 years ago. Time flies like an arrow.. but it’s always true “Discontent is the first necessity of progress”.
I have added my comments to the Robert Scoble’s article on Google Glass. https://plus.google.com/+Scobleizer/posts/1UfNLdZAN4h
1. Expectations are too high. These are on our faces and are the most controversial product of my lifetime (and that’s saying something). Everyone will compare sales of Google Glass to Apple’s iWatch. That is going to bring a raft of “Google Glass isn’t popular” kinds of articles. Translation: Glass is doomed.
We also have same level or maybe even higher expectation for our Telepathy One. That means we are under the same risk of not meeting the expectation. But we should still be able to exceed the expectation in the following areas:
- Deliver the ‘experience sharing’ by a simple application with the spirit of ‘Less is More.’
- Provide a gorgeous design that is wearable
2. These are too hard to buy and acquire. They need to be custom fitted and, because they have a new user interface, users need a bit of training on how to use them. This is what will keep the price high, not the cost of making the things. If you need to spend an hour or two with a Google employee in a Best Buy just to get them working, that raises the cost and will keep these from being a high-sales item. At least in 2014.
We should not only make the UI simple and easy to understand, but also provide a product value that has a straightforward answer to the question “What does it do?” A product that does many things tends to be hard to understand and complicated to experience. Telepathy One’s value is to offer a clear and simple promise and deliver it as easily as possible.
3. Not enough apps. Enough said. That will start getting fixed after a few months of release, but early users are gonna continually ask “where’s the Uber app?” Or “where’s the Foursquare app?” Or “why does the Facebook app suck?” Truth is, while there are many developers excited by Glass, there are many others who look at this and see no market and a very small one that will show up in 2014. So most “pro” developers are taking a wait-and-see approach. Google hasn’t helped that by not showing off a store and by making weird rules against advertising without explaining what will be allowed.
We don’t even offer an app store. We deliver the wearable device’s unique value in the most simple way at minimum user interface resulting the very comfortable user experience. So not offering various smartphone apps is indeed our advantage.
4. The current UI can’t handle lots of apps. If apps do show up by some miracle how many can you really fit into the small format of Glass? Not many. This thing is gonna break if I tried to put the 300 apps on my MotoX or iPhone onto it. Why? You simply won’t scroll through hundreds of apps. Your arm will get tired. And if you add too many it’ll decrease voice recognition quality. “OK Glass, take a picture,” now, did you just mean to use the Path app? The Facebook app? The instagram app? The SnapChat app? The SmugMug app?
Both voice control and touch panel operation are very complicated and difficult to learn. This is due to not being clear on the best user experience they want to deliver. We, in contrast, offer a communication device with a simple user interface that is focused on the value proposition in ‘instantly share your experience.’ This easy and simple UI will become our advantage.
5. Battery life. Right now I want to use Glass for journalism. It works pretty well for that, if you watch my Sarah Francis video I filmed on Glass: https://plus.google.com/+Scobleizer/posts/D1jSBLQQvu2 But when doing video the battery only lasts 45 minutes AND it gets very hot. I expect that will get fixed, right now video is being compressed in software. I bet that when they release the public version it will be done in hardware. But, what is real-world battery use like? Already Google has had to ratchet back a bunch of features it wanted to include, like automatic uploads of photos. It now only does that when plugged in and on wifi.
We should be able to provide 3 to 4 hours of continuous operation by limiting the features to have no call-waiting and no VoIP. This will also become our strong advantage.
6. Photo workflow sucks. Let’s say I shot a bunch of photos on my Glass. Can I see them on my iPhone? No. Not immediately. I have to plug it in and be on wifi for that to happen. Can I share from Glass? Yeah, but how do I leave a description? Use my voice, right? But the problem is that isn’t very accurate and doesn’t work at all in noisy places like rock concerts, which is probably where you mostly want to use Glass. Google needs to make it much easier to push images over to my phone in real time and then let me upload photos and videos from there. Why? I can edit on my phone much nicer than trying to pick out good images on Glass (and try to do something like crop or change image to black and white before uploading — you’ll soon discover there are thousands of limitations to Glass’ camera that your iPhone doesn’t have).
Photo taking and sharing is the core of Telepathy One’s sharing experience. By focusing on it and doing it very well, we can be far better than Google Glass which cannot do the something smoothly. And the better image and preview quality would be an extra advantage.
7. Facebook is our main addiction and I can’t do it in Glass. Sorry Google, but Google+ still isn’t used by my family, friends, or those I speak with. At one recent conference I asked who isn’t on Facebook and only one hand went up. Google+ isn’t nearly as ubiquitous or as nice, truth be told, particularly for mobile users. This lack of Facebook support is the #1 thing that pisses me off about Glass. Do you really think Zuckerberg is gonna put his best developers on Glass? Hell no.
Telepathy One will support Facebook very well instead of trying to match what Glass offers. Then we can expect the users to say ‘this is what we wanted.’ We can differentiate ourself by using the Facebook login to select the five best friends or choose to post in public timeline.
8. No contextual filtering. When I’m standing on stage, why does Glass give me Tweets? Why can’t it recognize that I’m at a conference at least and show me only tweets about that conference? Hashtag style. But it can’t because Google’s contextual OS isn’t done and probably won’t be done until 2015. Google Glass desperately needs those contextual signals to know when to show you appropriate stuff. Skiing? Only show me stuff about the mountain I’m on. In a meeting? Do something like Mind Meld does (show me stuff about what we’re talking about). Shopping? Show me coupons and todo lists. But today Google Glass is pretty stupid, context wise, and makes the experience of using it suck in a lot of ways.
Having different modes depending on the context can be very confusing to the users. Telepathy does not offer different modes. But will use the contextual filtering to simplify and make taking photo and sharing as comfortable as possible.
9. Developers are being held back because there isn’t any distribution system for apps or Glass experiences. That will get fixed, I’m sure, but right now if a developer wants me to test out a cool app they almost always need physical access to my Glass. That isn’t a good way to get lots of people trying/debugging/hyping up apps.
For all above reasons, we will not provide an application platform. Having a well designed default application will increase the value of the product. It does not make sense to have multiple unsells apps.