Friday Buzz: Google Glass is Dead, At Least for Now

The heavily hyped wearable-computing device goes off the market after a run that drew excitement and criticism in equal measure.

Is wearable computing dead? Probably not, but the current version of Glass isn’t long for this world.

On Thursday, Google announced that it was taking the public beta form of the device off the market and going back to the drawing board to work out the kinks. While many see the move as a death knell for the technology, Google is devoting more resources to the project and says it will use the lessons learned by its beta testers, called “Glass Explorers,” to help build future versions of the technology.

“Glass was in its infancy, and you took those very first steps and taught us how to walk,” the company stated in a post on Google+. “Well, we still have some work to do, but now we’re ready to put on our big-kid shoes and learn how to run.”

The response to the announcement suggests that many pundits aren’t buying the official explanation, but they admit the Glass experiment offers some important lessons about wearable computing, whatever direction it takes next.

Some, like The Atlantic‘s Jake Swearingen, suggest that the problem with Glass was its built-in camera, a feature that led movie theaters to ban the device and created infamous personalities out of Glass Explorers.

“Google Glass wasn’t just a way to keep a screen in front of your face all the time; it was also a way to record everything going in front of you,” Swearingen wrote. “And it turns out very few people are willing to be viewed as walking, talking invasions of privacy.”

But at the same time, the device’s strongest potential uses appeared to be for niche industries—with tradeshows supplying a perfect example.

“Some of the most interesting use cases for Google Glass revolved around healthcare, manufacturing, and other industries,” noted ZDNet‘s Larry Dignan. “Explorers did some neat things, but in the end couldn’t come up with a killer app beyond taking pictures.”

Google Glass

I spent a little time wearing Glass at the 2013 ASAE Technology Conference, and, looking back, my stance on wearables is about the same: They could work, but there’s a good chance they might not.

Anyone else have thoughts on Glass’ (temporary) demise?

Other Links of Note

Trying to get a read on your CEO? SCD Group’s Steve Drake offers some considerations when evaluating the person up top.

A big month for online donations: Network for Good reports that it saw an 18 percent increase in volume last month compared to December 2013, with #GivingTuesday leading the way.

Do you struggle with criticism? It’s understandable. The Crew Blog does a deep dive into the different ways that people handle negative feedback.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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