Google Glass is back, but nothing is really different

When Google Glass was launched in April 2012 almost everyone got excited. Augmented Reality was the star of the hype cycle back then, and the possibilities for the device seemed endless. 

Three years later the product collapsed. Privacy and security issues proved to be too important both for Google and users, which became less and less interested in a technology that made us all look a little dumb.

It was expensive, too.

Why would Google launch another version of Google Glass? One would expect that this time the things that failed on the previous version would be corrected. 

They aren’t. Google Glass is still a niche product, enterprise focused, with a very limited set of use cases. It’s a little more powerful and has a better, bigger battery, but again, privacy issues are still there and users will look as dumb as they looked a few years ago. 

And it is as expensive as the previous version. 

There’s another big problem for Google Glass. As it happened (happens) with smartwatches, this device solves a problem that didn’t exist in the first place. Everything that Google Glass does can be done on a phone, and in fact Apple —with its ARkit— seems to have understood this better than Google. 

I’m affraid Google Glass is mostly useless: without real differentiation and really special use cases, it’s little more than an expensive business toy. Good luck with that, Google.

HoloLens reminds us not only of Kinect, but of another big failure

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Dina Bass writes on Bloomberg about the slow demise of Microsoft Kinect and how this device was not well supported by the company, that should have bet on it from the beginning not only on the gaming side (Xbox 360, Xbox One), but also on the ‘serious’ software side (Windows).

While the technology captured people’s imaginations and provided some entertaining gimmicks, the Kinect failed to become the all-purpose computing device many inside and outside Microsoft envisioned. The company’s ambitions for the product started out too small, and by the time it was ready to go further, the different parts of Microsoft were unable to come together and create something with lasting appeal.

This is a valid point, but the problem is far simpler. Kinect didn’t succeed because Microsoft did too many broken promises. Kinect games were garbage too simple and too casual: Nintendo had been making those kind of games for too long, and the feature was not a differentiator. It should have been.

In fact, trying to compare HoloLens future with Kinect present is misleading. These are two different kind of devices, and I’d say that HoloLens is much more similar to Google Glass in every way.

The lessons Microsoft must learn should come from that project, not Kinect. We’ll see if Microsoft delivers this time, but pitching a $3,000 consumer device is pretty difficult.

Source: Kinect’s Rapid Decline Shows Microsoft How Not to Pitch HoloLens – Bloomberg Business