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Handheld Devices

Google Glass: All Talk No Action?

Two years ago, Google Glass was lauded as a major breakthrough in the world of wearable technology. Mashable declared it the “next big thing” as it promised to transform the way we think about sight and visual interaction. Time magazine named it as one of 2012’s best inventions. So what made it so special? Google Glass is, essentially, a computer built into the frame of a pair of glasses. The goal: to make augmented reality a part of our daily lives.

Fast-forward two years later and where is Google Glass? Why hasn’t this visionary device been launched for the consumer market yet? According to Reuters, of 16 Glass app makers that were contacted, nine said that they had abandoned their projects, mostly because of the lack of customers or limitations of the device.  Sounds encouraging right? Plus there’s more bad news: Twitter has also abandoned ship as the Twitter app for Google glass is no longer available.

So was Google Glass a true visionary for the future or just one great PR stunt? It hasn’t been an easy journey for Google. First of all, there is the bulky price-tag of $1,500. This is what Google charges developers and testers. Apparently, for the consumer market this will be cheaper. But it is unclear by how much cheaper.

Then there is the privacy issue. This is a huge concern, and a battle Google has constantly been fighting. So much so, that Google even went as far as defending itself on its company page by addressing the “The Top 10 Google Glass Myths”. It was reported that 72% of Americans won’t buy Google Glass because of privacy concerns. This is not surprising as this was an issue I picked up on when I tried the Google Glass myself. Suspicions of secret surveillance, photography and filming is enough to make people very afraid (and paranoid).

So where does all this leave Google Glass now? Apparently, Google co-founder Sergey Brin recently went to a red-carpet event without his beloved Glass. Is he feeling down in the dumps because he knows his product will not make it?

It’s not all bad though. Despite not triumphing in the consumer market yet, Google Glass has managed to succeed in some niche markets: healthcare being one strong example. A UK medical school recently utilized Google Glass in surgery to remove cancerous tissue from the liver and bowel of a 78 year-old man. The procedure was the UK’s first global live-streamed surgical teaching session.

The launch date for Google Glass has now been changed to 2015 and Google is “as energized as ever about the opportunity that wearables and Glass in particular represent.” Will it live up to its hype, and finally deliver on all its promises?  I am not holding my breath.  

 

Ayesha Salim is E-Content Writer at IDG Connect

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Ayesha Salim

Ayesha Salim is Staff Writer at IDG Connect

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