Two sides of the (Google) Glass

While everyone focuses on wrist-mounted screens, the post-mortems for the explorer version of Google Glass rumble on.

We’re a little over two weeks into the public life of Apple Watch – and shipping dates are shifting back towards July. Apple’s clearly selling them as fast as they can make them right now, but that doesn’t really tell us much. It’ll be years – and a sense if people continue to use it, and but a replacement – before we really know.

And there’s a lesson from the recent past hanging around for us – Glass. Google’s early experiment with wearables has disappeared from the consumer landscape, into the depths of Google[x] – but are there still things we can learn from it?

Two very different takes on Google Glass have been circulating over the weekend. And they tell different tales:

The fan waiting for version 2.0

One, the experiences of a Glass user over two years, is unequivocally enthusiastic:

It was the world on my terms. Yes, I could get those notifications and messages, or I could ignore them. If I didn’t ignore them, I could handle them quickly. More importantly, I could experience the world around me. If I saw something I wanted to capture it – I could quickly do so, and continue enjoying that world.

I’m often asked if Glass is a distraction. It is the complete opposite – it is liberating.

The sceptic who wants a B2B rebirth

The other – also from a Glass Explorer – is rather more damning:

I was a Google Glass Explorer and the experience was horrible from the start. Google Glass now sits in my office museum of failed products. The UI was terrible, the connection unreliable, and the info it delivered had little use to me. It was the worst $1500 I have ever spent in my life. On the other hand, as a researcher, it was a great tool to help me understand what not to do when creating a product for the consumer.

The core point he makes, though, is that Glass was a business product mis-marketed as a consumer one, and I think it’s a good one.

And now we’re in the midst of discovering if the wrist is a more viable point for a consumer wearable…