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Is Google Glass Already Dead?

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It's been an interesting few months for Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) Glass. Still in the midst of being tested by its "Explorers," Glass has received mixed reviews from users and few warm fuzzies from the public.

I wrote in an earlier article that people just need time to get used to the idea of wearable computing -- but I'm starting to question whether we'll ever reach that point. With public bans on Glass already abounding and even new negative terminology created for people who wear Glass (look it up -- this is a family publication!), Google Glass may never get the chance to take off.

Glass half empty
News that Google banned the device at its own shareholders' meeting surfaced a few days ago, but according to a BGR article, Google said it didn't ban the device; it just doesn't allow recording devices at the meeting. A Google representative told BGR that several people were wearing the device in the meeting, presumably while not recording.

At Tesla's annual shareholders meeting last week, an attendee not only was wearing Google Glass but did so while asking Elon Musk a question during the Q&A time. While it wasn't clear whether or not he was recording or snapping pictures, no one asked him to remove the device even while talking with the company CEO.

But others haven't been so kind.

Ceasars Entertainment has already instituted a ban on the device from its gambling floors nationwide, and other casinos have done the same or are at least talking about it. Hospitals have discussed adding Glass to its list of other recording devices that aren't allowed in their facilities. A dive bar in Seattle was the first to ban the device (mainly for publicity reasons), and legislators in West Virginia have proposed banning the device while driving.

In a Scientific American article last month, David Pogue wrote: "If Google's not careful, Glass will go the way of the Segway. It will be another stunning technology achievement, ultimately doomed to nichehood by the pure awkwardness, the attention-grubbing self-centeredness, of using it in public."

Herein lies the problem. Glass is an innovative device, and it could potentially transform the way we interact with the world -- if we choose to accept it. If we find the technology too creepy or too invasive, then it won't live long enough to transform or change anything.

Breaking the Glass barrier
The concern over Glass isn't unwarranted, if only for the fact that the device that is always pointed at someone or something -- making it easier than a phone to capture video or pictures.

With Glass expected to go on sale to consumers next year, Google investors should take note of the public skepticism of the device -- as well as the hesitancy from businesses and legislators. Even if a large group of consumers are interested in Glass, they may be cautious to purchase a device that so far has received less than a warm welcome and may not even be usable in the ways they want.

Then again, maybe we're all overthinking it.

Even if Glass fails, Google is on a path of innovation that can't be stopped. Besides its everyday offerings of email, online ads, and the Android OS the company has its hand in online shopping delivery services, autonomous vehicles, and much more. That's why it's more important than ever to understand each piece of Google's sprawling empire. In The Motley Fool's new premium research report on Google, we break down the risks and potential rewards for Google investors. Simply click here now to unlock your copy of this invaluable resource.


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  • Report this Comment On June 12, 2013, at 4:38 AM, JT1951 wrote:

    I think Glass has a limited market. Maybe the military and businesses dealing with the public while needing to access computer records. Otherwise few people want to have to wear glasses or something similar. 3D TV has never really taken off because people don't like wearing glasses. I am one of those people.

  • Report this Comment On February 01, 2015, at 2:23 PM, orthotox wrote:

    "it could potentially transform the way we interact with the world " Yes, it would probably inhibit our interaction with the world, as the glassy stare, icy conversation and frozen expression became default behaviour once we came to realize that everything that makes us human - or all too human - might end up going viral. The device in itself is nothing: it's the glass with the web that makes us leery.

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Chris Neiger
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Chris has covered Tech and Telecom companies for The Motley Fool since 2012. Follow him on Twitter for the latest tech stock coverage.

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