By now I imagine most of you have heard of the forthcoming Google Glass product. These are the eyeglasses which, when worn, allow a person to bark out commands and do things like take a picture or a video of what they are seeing, do a Google search, or help find their way around by way of Google maps. The ostensibly-spiffy thing about it is that the experience of issuing commands to a computer is executed by voice commands as opposed to a keyboard and the viewing is accomplished by what you are seeing projected in front of your eyeballs as opposed to staring at a monitor.
This is just a different form of mobile computing, which is clearly a wildly-successful sector. The press that Google Glass has received already been stunning, particularly considering there’s hardly a person on the planet sporting a pair of these things on the bridge of their nose yet, but I’ve got a feeling that, like Google Wave (remember that? anyone? I didn’t think so……….) it will be a flop. Here’s why:
The Dork Factor – anyone wearing these things look like a dildo, plain and simple. It’s just like the Segway, which confers instant dorkage upon the rider. Imagine Brad PItt. Smashing-looking fellow, right? Now put him on a Segway and send him off on an errand. He looks like an unmitigated dork, doesn’t he? I rest my case.
The Hype Factor – very few successful high-tech products are preceded by breathless worldwide publicity. Google Glass’ stunning media reception is, paradoxically, going to work against it, because expectations are so high. Let’s return to the Segway example. Just before it came out, the Segway was heralded by luminaries as one of the most important inventions of the century. No less a man than Steve Jobs stated that entire cities would be built around the Segway transportation system. So how’d that work out? Well, chubby security guards use ’em, and that’s about it. And the last thing a chubby security guard needs is an effortless way to zip from place to place, so even the one customer they’ve got is being harmed by it.
Good Enough – People seem perfectly happy with their mobile phones. They are powerful, feature-rich, take good pictures, are useful as GPS devices, and basically have reached the point of diminishing returns. There really isn’t a problem to solve here. What we have is plenty good enough.
Bad Karma – as reported last week by the Wall Street Journal, it seems that multi-billionaire Google
co-founder Sergey Brin decided that the product manager of Google Glass was a lot more appealing than his wife and mother of his children, so he started boinking the former and ditched the latter. This is interesting on multiple fronts. First, it seems that fellow Google married multi-billionaire Eric Schmidt has women stationed in just about every port of call, so perhaps this kind of ethic is shared by Google senior management. Second, it appears that Brin experienced the same kind of “ummm, what exactly were you thinking?” event when he got married, which Mark Zuckerberg famously executed last year. In any case, it seems that the principal press the aforementioned product has received lately has had more to do with ass than glass.
Although the product is irrelevant to Google’s financial fortune (almost entirely built on one and only one thing, which is AdSense sales), I’ll just mention here that I shorted GOOG last week, based on a pretty large topping pattern. I normally don’t touch the stock, but I was seduced into the decision by all the kerfuffle happening at the company. I think Google is well past its prime.