What is (or was) Google Glass?
Google Glass was launched onto an unsuspecting world in 2012, and was heralded as a hands-free way of accessing information on a wearable screen. The device, actually a tiny computer, looks very much like a normal pair of spectacles, but has a small screen built into the glass. Access is via voice commands or a smartphone-type pad that enables the wearer to view the internet, take and view photos or video, and get directions.
However, as consumers began using the spectacles when out in public places, issues relating to privacy began to be raised. Google Glass features a built-in camera, which is thought to be one of the key reasons for the product being withdrawn from public sale.
What's more, once the initial novelty value began to wear off, users, who in some cases paid as much as $1,500 for the device, found that there wasn't much they could use it for and that people in close proximity were becoming wary and put-off once they realised it was highly likely they were being recorded. A certain stigma has come to be attached to wearers, who are frequently asked to remove the glasses before entering establishments such as cinemas, concert halls and restaurants; restaurateurs in particular object to their dishes being recorded. Even Google ban it from its shareholders' meetings.
Now it has come to the point where consumer groups have become so outraged that one has claimed Google Glass is: "one of the most privacy invasive devices ever."
But this isn't the end of the story: Google Glass may be seen as a failure in terms of its take-up by the general public, but one of the first groups to embrace the future possibilities of the device has been the health care sector. Surgeons began using it when carrying out operations; it enables them to access patient's notes without having to move away from the operating table. It also allows medical students or highly qualified specialists to view the procedures, even if they are on the other side of the world.
Other users include project managers on construction sites where the device is proving its worth in the training of new-starters in hazardous situations; an app is being developed to assist fire fighters as they navigate their way through burning buildings, and Virgin Atlantic issued some of their agents at Heathrow Airport with the devices so that they could provide their customers with live information, face to face.
Although media headlines read Google Glass discontinued' this is by no means true, at least according to Google. They claim the product has reached the end of its prototype stage and will be put into production by an entirely new and separate division of the company, known simply as Glass'. Headed up by recently recruited Apple designer, Tony Fade and highly experienced marketing executive, Ivy Ross, Google Glass is apparently set to undergo a complete redesign, which is likely to take some time. It is also said that there will be no trial public launch next time.
It seems everyone now accepts that Google Glass wasn't ready for sale to the public and the public certainly weren't ready for it.