quinnmyers141 karma2022-09-20 17:51:49 UTC
The whole episode was such a carnival of failure that it's honestly hard to say, but I think you could argue the leading reason Glass failed was Google's marketing. Sebastian Thrun, the absolutely brilliant former Google VP and "godfather of Google Glass," told me if there was one thing he'd change, it'd be to market Glass as essentially a GoPro -- a no-frills wearable sport-utility camera that people can wear hiking, biking, skiing, etc. That way, people wouldn't think about wearing Glass to an intimate date or a bar to record their surroundings/scan people's faces/etc.
Instead, Google tried to market Glass a piece of high fashion. Their argument was that if they wanted people to wear it all day, they had to convince the public that ~cool and hot people~ wear Glass. So they strapped it onto runway models, celebs, and slapped an exorbitant price tag on it to make it seem exclusive. Unfortunately the only people who took the bait were rich white dudes, and everything else came crashing down when people started realizing Glass couldn't actually do what Google promised it could do in their now-infamous "One Day" Youtube video.
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quinnmyers61 karma2022-09-20 17:15:46 UTC
What an incredible gauge for creepiness, I shudder at the idea of Matt Gaetz getting his greasy little hands on either shoe mirrors or Google Glass. One thing that came out in the book was that the nose-to-the-grindstone engineers at Google were pretty well intentioned and were genuinely surprised by people's reactions to the camera. In fact their defense (to this day) is that the microphone on people's phones is worse (which is rich, coming from the people who would later invent Google Home, Alexa, etc).
By and large though the answer is somewhere in the middle, not overtly creepy as the shoe mirror but creepier the more you knew about it, like Gaetz. The camera could only record for ten seconds at a time, and too much recording resulted in some people's equipment getting really hot -- but people started developing software the was creepy as heck, like taking pictures by winking, among other things.
As for why people thought it was a good idea, the answer is money. They believed Glass would replace iPhones and whoever wins that prize will be rich and powerful beyond anything we could possibly conceive... which is why The Zuck and pretty much every single company in Silicon Valley continue to think it's a good idea -- and they're hoping people are easier to convince now than we were in 2012.
quinnmyers61 karma2022-09-20 18:13:39 UTC
Of course! I've had a few marketing people read the book who've said Glass should be taught in marketing courses as a case study in what NOT to do lol
quinnmyers50 karma2022-09-20 18:29:57 UTC
LOL it's so fun to talk to people who remember the saga, because in a vacuum this would be SUCH a weird question. It's hard to guage how much this really hurt Glass. On one hand it was just another dorky tech guy who wanted (though would also probably benefit from) Glass succeeding. But on the other hand "The Shower Pic" pretty much sparked the "White Men Wearing Google Glass" meme and like you said, further united people in seeing the only people cheering for Glass were wealthy white dudes who evangelized tech and their own personal status more than they cared about the general public's privacy concerns, etc.
Even Larry Page (semi-jokingly?) told Scoble he "really didn't appreciate the shower photo," so you know Google was aware of the pic and the damage it wrought. So all in all, the shower pic didn't help lol
quinnmyers42 karma2022-09-20 18:37:44 UTC
My friend, they already have! For a while Glass 2.0 was strictly for enterprise rather than commercial, so it was essentially sold to companies whose employees would benefit from AR -- ie; building a helicopter is a lot easier when the directions are floating in front of your face as opposed to in a physical manual you have to keep looking back to.
As you might imagine, it's got 10 years of technical improvement behind it so the computer is faster and more dynamic, but also not concerned with appearance (they basically look like spruced up safety goggles). And, as of last year-ish, Google opened up sales to the general public of their Glass Enterprise versions, as well as quietly started beta-testing a new, potentially commercial version of Glass with members of the public (as opposed to developers/engineers, etc).
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