PC Magazine Declares Google Glass Dead

Source: Google Finance

Augmented Reality – PC Magazine has declared the death of the Google Glass device based on its observations of people not wearing Google Glass in public anymore. This article appeared on October 8th on the publication’s website and quotes comments from John C. Dvorak about the future of Google Glass.

He states that in the beginning, wearers of Google Glass were “gung ho” about the new product but now it appears that nobody is wearing the glasses in public anymore. This disappearance of the device is driven by social pressure from the public. He compares this to other technologies that just disappeared because nobody was using them anymore, which is different from social pressure to make wearing Google Glass socially unacceptable. Key for him was the negative reaction to people wearing the Google Glass device in certain social settings. He used the incident “I Was Assaulted For Wearing Google Glass In The Wrong Part Of San Francisco” as reported by the Business Insider, as the basis of a mind shift in the public against Google Glass. I would call this anecdotal evidence at best.

He does state that there are many applications still in development that may be helpful, but he does not think that these could change the mindset of the public that in his opinion has completely shifted towards hating Google Glass.

His main issue with Google Glass is the potential to record any person in his view. As he puts it, it is like pulling out a camera while talking to a person. This is certainly socially unacceptable unless you are making a movie, but there are still many cameras being sold. The problem is not in the device itself but in the way it is used. Wearing a headset for directions is no different from looking at your smartphone, which of course also has a camera, while walking. One difference is that a smartphone has no light to indicate use of the camera functionality in the way Google Glass does.

His view on the chances of augmented reality is somewhat bleak. “Can Glass ever be revived? Is there anything that could popularize them? Perhaps if some famous popular icons began to wear them, they might become cool. But most celebrities have already concluded that the glasses are dorky. Google will never understand the mechanisms needed to make them desirable”. At least he still believes in the power of good marketing.

The article appears to have triggered some surprising results in Asia. Himax as the designated supplier of the display component in Google Glass has a lot to lose if the Google Glass gets scratched before it is released to the public. As a consequence investors took notice and sent Himax shares plunging.

Source: Google Finance

The drop in stock price could of course be pure coincidence. However, it could also be a direct consequence of the article. Anyway, the consequences of Google actually leaving augmented reality could be very severe for the whole industry.

So how about Google leaving augmented reality? So far the company still offers Google Glass under the explorer program, the stores are still open and Google is reportedly planning on investing a good amount into an augmented reality developer. This does not seem to indicate a drop of the technology, at least for the moment. – Norbert Hildebrand