The Rise and Fall of Google Glass: What Went Wrong?
Google recently made an announcement that it would no longer be selling Glass Enterprise Edition, marking the end of an era for the company’s foray into wearable technology. In a short statement, Google expressed gratitude to its readers for their “over a decade of innovation and partnership[s].” The journey of Glass began as a consumer product in 2013 and later transitioned to a more enterprise-focused product in 2017. Although this may not be the end of Google’s smart glasses line, it does mark the end of one bud that was birthed from its history.
Google’s release of Glass ver.1 was a pivotal moment in the development of wearable technology and sparked controversy in both consumer and industrial applications. Google was one of the trend-setting players in the ARVR industry. While it’s sad to see the end of one hype, it will undoubtedly lead to new hype, including XR, AI, and Metaverse.
As a software company, Google excels, but hardware is a different ball game that requires a unique ecosystem, which Google failed to build. While I personally love Google’s web2-based solutions and use them regularly, I am not as enthusiastic about their hardware offerings.
According to Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen, over 30,000 new products are introduced every year, and 95% of them fail. There are multiple reasons for product failure, which I learned through my own startup experience in Bangladesh.
Back in 2008, I founded a startup in Bangladesh (Sat Track) with the primary objective of introducing a cutting-edge car tracking system to prevent car theft and unethical behavior by drivers, such as oil theft. Despite being operational for two years, I was forced to shut down the project. However, this experience taught me valuable lessons on the reasons behind the failure of new products. Here are a few examples of such products:
No Product Market Fit:
If your product does not meet the needs of the target market, it will not be successful. It is imperative to understand the needs and stay ahead of your competitors. Google Glass served no clear purpose, with no clarity on what customer needs it was trying to address.
Lack of Product Originality:
Customers will not switch to your product if it doesn’t offer something unique. Provide your customers with something new and delightful that will compel them to try your products. Microsoft launched Zune to compete with Apple’s iPod. However, it didn’t offer any special features and was a big failure.
Bad Design and Quality:
The main cause of product failure is bad design and quality. It’s hard to retain customers if the product compromises on user experience. For example, Samsung Galaxy 7 was reported to overheat and had issues with its battery software. The product was later abandoned due to safety issues.
If the price is too low, then you will not generate revenue to sustain your business, and if the price is too high, customers will not buy. Make sure your pricing strategy works for the success of your product. Amazon Fire Phone was priced similarly to high-end smartphones but lacked the same features and app-store capabilities.
Understanding the Target Market and Customer Needs:
Your product will not succeed if you don’t know who it is meant for and it is not meeting the customer’s needs. For example, Segway was a novel product but failed to capture the attention of customers. It was priced too high.
Timing of your product launch is important to determine the success of the product and gather attention. If launched early, the market may not be ready to adopt it, and if launched late, there is already a lot of competition. Therefore, consider timing before launching your product. Apple Newton was the first tablet computer launched in 1993. The market was not ready to accept it, and it was discontinued in 1998.
- Google Glass was a highly innovative product that was ahead of its time, but it ultimately failed due to a lack of product-market fit, high price point, and privacy concerns.
- Understanding the target market and customer needs, providing unique features and user experience, and pricing products correctly are crucial for product success.
- Timing is also an important factor to consider before launching a new product.
- Failed product launches are common, with up to 95% of new products failing in the market.
- Learning from past failures is crucial for entrepreneurs, and can help them avoid common pitfalls and improve their chances of success in the future.
In conclusion, the story of Google Glass is a fascinating one, full of both promise and disappointment. Despite its potential as a groundbreaking technology, it ultimately failed to catch on with consumers due to a variety of factors such as the lack of a clear value proposition, high pricing, and poor timing. However, the lessons learned from the failure of Google Glass and other products can be valuable for entrepreneurs and businesses looking to develop successful new products. By understanding the importance of market fit, originality, design, quality, pricing, and timing, businesses can increase their chances of creating products that resonate with customers and stand the test of time. As we look to the future, exciting new technologies like XR, AI, and the Metaverse offer fresh opportunities for innovation and growth, and the lessons of the past can help us create a better tomorrow.