An Autopsy of Google Glass

It’s no surprise that every company wants to come up with the “next big thing” and, of course, Google is no exception to this. Being one of the most prominent technology companies in the world, Google is always on-the-go to expand their product offerings. Yet, not every single venture would turn into something viable. Google Glass is one of those failed ventures Google hates to admit.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Google Glass, it is a wearable technology with an optical head-mounted display with a camera that presents information in a hands-free format. Think of it as an on-your-face computer that allows you to access information anywhere and anytime. When Google released information about Google Glass, everyone was excited about this game-changing product.

So why did Google Glass not live up to the hype? The key to creating a successful product is to find a problem that the product is trying to solve. Yet, this simple principle was overshadowed by all the public attention Google Glass has generated.

Instead of validating whether Google Glass is solving the right problem (which I have no idea what the problem is), Google decided to roll out their prototype to the public and have consumers provide feedback that could then use to improve the design. The result was miserable. Not only does Google Glass had unclear brand messaging, but it also prompted serious privacy and health concerns: Would users be comfortable wearing a camera on them every day? Would users feel unsettled with a Wi-Fi signal that would be inches away from their head for hours?

Pricing was another factor that attributes to the failure of the Google Glass. It was retailed for $1,500 despite not having a clear function. In other words, the product does not offer tangible benefits to users. What about intangible benefits? As you may have seen from pictures online, Google Glass is aesthetically unappealing. Unlike luxury goods that project users’ social status, Google Glass does not offer any intangible benefit. With an expensive price and no apparent tangible and intangible benefits, Google Glass bounds to be a failure.

This story sets an example to product designers out there of what not to do when creating a product for consumers. What we can learn from this is that uncovering and validating assumptions, and finding the right problem are the keys to design a successful product.

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