Why Google Glass Failed
An initial analysis
Google Glass came out as a wearable glasses with inbuilt screen and camera. The screen gave information about where you were, such as nearest restaurant, and the camera allowed you to video record whatever you were seeing and hearing at the time.
It sounded a brilliant idea, and the fashion industry loved it. Google gave it a big, expensive launch in 2012, with sky-divers, etc. Yet it flopped. Why? The BBC Radio 4 programme Toast discussed some reasons on 6 April 2023 (the audio recording).
Our conclusion is that Google Glass failed because, though it was excellent in two aspects, the lingual and aesthetic, it failed in two others, the social and the economic - reflecting the need to operate well in all aspects for genuine success. Everything we do is multi-aspectual functioning. And, as someone said on the programme, "The social trumps the informational" - reflecting the sequence of aspects, in which the lingual precedes the social and it is the social that gives it its full meaningfulness.
In More Detail
In the programme, one business expert was asked what she thought was the main reason for its failure: bad timing, bad product, bad research, bad press (critics) and 'act of God'. The interviewer chose bad product, but she pointed out that that is the attitude of the non-entrepreneur; entrepreneurs look for possibilities beyond what we already have. Without hesitation she chose bad research. Google had ignored some important aspects, and had not properly researched these aspects, being blinded by the love for it by their nerds. One was the social aspect, the other was the economic (but not that of pricing etc.). See below.
the following points were made about its strengths:
- Lingual aspect: The 'nerds' loved it because it gave instant access to information (lingual aspect) without having to reach into a bag and switch on a device. Google Glass was always on.
- Aesthetic aspect: The fasion industry loved it. Though slightly odd-looking, they thought it cool and would attract many.
And about its weaknesses:
- Social aspect failure: When on a date, if you see you are being filmed, you don't like it. Also, in comparison with sunglasses, if you talk with someone, you take the sunglasses off so that each can see the other. Google Glass is no good for social situations.
- Economic aspect failure: As mentioned on the programme, Google, having lots of money, was not careful enough. Having less money makes one frugal and therefore careful. According to Dooyeweerd, the norm of economic aspect is frugality, not prosperity, which Google went against.
And some other aspectual failures that contributed to the above:
- Social aspect contributory failure: As an information device, the Google nerds expected engineers and business people would also love it. Sports people like sky-divers might also love it. They expected all people to come to love it too. They failed on understanding what is meaningful to cohorts of people. Google also priced it too high for public acceptance: wrong cohort.
- Juridical aspect contributory failure: The above social use transgressed the juridical norm of what is due to people in a social situation.
- Pistic aspect possible failure: It is likely that Google over-believed in itself and its own ability and views.
This page, "http://dooy.info/using/google.glass.html",
is part of a collection that discusses application of Herman Dooyeweerd's ideas, within The Dooyeweerd Pages, which explain, explore and discuss Dooyeweerd's interesting philosophy. Email questions or comments are welcome.
Written on the Amiga and Protext in the style of classic HTML.
You may use this material subject to conditions. Compiled by Andrew Basden.
Created: 6 April 2023.