THE BLOG

How Google Glass Won

20/01/2015 17:28 GMT | Updated 22/03/2015 09:59 GMT

Let me state first that I am Google agnostic. I worry about data, but hypocritically still use their services for convenience and I spend time thinking about the future of a company that initially blew me away with the speed of search when my main option was Alta Vista.

Anyhoo - I've been thinking about the demise of Google Glass and the use of 'demise' in that case at all and it strikes me that this is not the end of something but the closing of a really interesting study that I would *love* to see the resulting data from.

I was pretty impressed with the launch of Google glass. Regardless of which company was presenting the product, the show was a good one and the wearable technology was something that I had not seen in a form that was quite so well - wearable.

Looking from a height at the situation, Google came out with a chorus line show for a product that was not really on the market for anyone other than developers and it inspired a lot of us to realise that 'the future' in a sci-fi sense was almost here. A wearable heads up display that might become commonplace. That's pretty exciting.

So, Glass was released into the developer world for those who could afford it and had the skills to make something of this technology. Not bad.

I don't think (please correct me) that the technology in itself was mocked for its processes and usability. I think, the release could have had a timeout built in as a really great social experiment.

Technology needs to be acceptable not just in terms of whether it works through code and form and whether people can use it. Technology needs to be socially acceptable.

I think in this case that Google Glass didn't pass that test. A highlight that op eds on the closure of Google Glass like to look at is how it was ridiculed. This included - the way that it looks on your face. Not everyone wants to look like they're performing sci-fi cosplay at a convention. It also means social acceptance of issues that are pretty unique today - privacy out in the world.

Now you could say that CCTV and government agencies are watching you anyway and there's the old, OLD chestnut that if you're not guilty, what's the problem?

In fact, I think there is a social recoil to being possibly recorded overtly. Google Glass is not exactly subtle but many humans are also uncomfortable when they get close to a whopping great big TV camera that stands out like dogs' balls.

It is now socially acceptable for humans to spend time with each other but inhabit cognitive spaces that are commanded by a small screen we hold in our hands. (That said, I still think text-walking is not acceptable and I will tut my disapproval - be warned.)

Releasing a version of Google Glass into the wild provided an amazing test of human social reaction to a new technology. The feedback in a natural surrounding is extraordinarily valuable and could be something we look back to in years ahead as other technologies emerge.

Looking at the release in an experimental light, I think Google won this round in gathering even more information that can be used in future products. That's a very valuable asset for a company that is sure to be creating more physical technologies in future.

It's not nice for developers who shelled out on their kit and will no longer be supported, but in business terms, I suspect it's really not bad at all.

What do you reckon? Smart experiment or abject failure?