Here’s a bad sign for Google’s still-nascent Glass project from Glass-evangelist Robert Scoble:
I’m also worried at a new trend: I rarely see Google employees wearing theirs anymore. Most say “I just don’t like advertising that I work for Google.” I understand that. Quite a few people assume I work for Google when they see me with mine. I just hope it doesn’t mean that Google’s average employee won’t support it. That is really what killed the tablet PC efforts inside Microsoft until Apple forced them to react due to popularity of iPad.
If Google employees aren’t willing to be trailblazers, then who will?
Glass is Google’s computerize lens. It generated a lot of buzz in the first half of 2013, but the hype has died down.
There’s a good chance that Glass is a fundamentally flawed product.
The premise of Google Glass is that you can easily get emails and texts without having to rudely pull your phone out of your pocket. The idea is that our smartphones are making us distracted and we’re missing big moments.
But, Glass is considered weird, and rude. In an excellent essay on wearing Glass for a year, Wired’s Mat Honan says:
“My Glass experiences have left me a little wary of wearables because I’m never sure where they’re welcome. I’m not wearing my $US1,500 face computer on public transit where there’s a good chance it might be yanked from my face. I won’t wear it out to dinner, because it seems as rude as holding a phone in my hand during a meal. I won’t wear it to a bar. I won’t wear it to a movie. I can’t wear it to the playground or my kid’s school because sometimes it scares children.”
And he’s a big fan of Glass!
If people like Honan and Google employees don’t feel comfortable wearing Glass in public, then it’s never going to become a normal thing. Those people need to wear them enough for the world to get used to Glass. If they’re scared to wear them, then it remains a niche product.
And if it’s a niche, alienating product then people won’t wear them in public. And so, it will never gain mainstream acceptance.
We saw this Scoble quote on John Gruber’s Daring Fireball. His take is fairly succinct: “When your own employees don’t use or support your product, the problem is with the product, not the employees.”