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Can Google Glass appeal to the mass market?

What is the full potential of Google Glass? What’s holding the wearable computer back?

Google Glass

Google Glass was announced by Google as a Beta program back in November 2012. Since its inception close to two years ago, there have been several advancements made by Google in its efforts to improve functionality. The emergence of Google Glass has also given rise to speculation about other manufacturers like Samsung and Baidu launching their own smart glasses. So it’s clear that Google has plenty of competition to tackle even before its product enters mass production.

Google Glass Pricing

As it stands right now, Google Glass is just a developer product, with pricing set beyond the average user’s affordability. At $1500 for the Explorer Edition Glass, the Mountain View based giant only wants developers and actual Beta testers to own the product so as to better recognize areas of improvement. But lately, Google has been leaning towards the everyday consumer as it is now urging developers to sign up new users for Glass. A mass produced version of this wearable device will be something to look forward to as we head into the latter part of 2014, but will it succeed?

That’s the million dollar question right now. With Google planning to bring a cheaper version of Glass (priced close to $400) in 2014, pricing will certainly be one of the talking points. The popularity of Google Glass is well known and it is largely due to word of mouth and constant updates rollout out by Google. But will the average user find it logical to shell out $400 or even more for a wearable device like this? Or will it end up like the Samsung Galaxy Gear which turned out to be a massive failure for the Korean manufacturer when it was launched alongside the Galaxy Note 3 phablet.

Google Glass Privacy

There have also been privacy concerns regarding Glass, which were raised on several occasions. This wearable device has a lot of advantages, no doubt; but when you’re wearing a device which can record every movement, privacy is going to be an issue.

There are reports of several users being ushered off cinema halls and restaurants for wearing Glass. Some places even took it a notch further and put up signs urging customers not to wear the product. This is conflicting with the idea that Glass can be worn at all times. So it is obvious that the authorities aren’t quite open to the idea of a person recording everything that he/she sees around them. There have also been reports of cops in the U.S. pulling over drivers for using Glass, which is ironic as one of the main features of Glass is the built in navigation system. So Google will have to settle those concerns with the authorities before Glass can go mainstream.

Google Glass ban

Google recently issued guidelines on when and how to use Glass, after issues of privacy were raised. It is hoped that most of these issues will be ironed out before the final release of the product. Google is expected to launch this wearable in the markets by late 2014 or early 2015 depending on supply.

With the potential of Glass proven, its success will be almost entirely dependent on marketing, which has traditionally been Google’s strong suit. We expect there to be more backlash from the privacy police in the coming days though, but that’s something which Google will be able to handle on its own. It is rumored that several industry rivals will have their own Google Glass alternative by the time Google brings this to the market.

Valerie Richardson
26 year old tech writer based in London. Have prior experience working with major media conglomerates. I'm also a lover of all things tech. Well, basically anything with a display and a power button on it.

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