Google Glass remains useful for marketers, but not without consumer acceptance

Google Glass is still available for businesses to experiment, but without the acceptance of consumers its future is far from certain.

Google has announced that Google Glass will stop production on 19 January, while they continue to redevelop the product for the future.

The news may have come as a shock to some marketing in the industry as many brands have recently invested with the platform, but it has become clear that businesses will continue to work with the development team much like they have done in the past.

Virgin Atlantic, Max Factor and YSL are a few of the UK brands that have begun to develop ways in which to incorporate the device for better consumer experience. Google has confirmed that it will continue to work with businesses and enterprises to develop a better product.

Rafe Blandford, mobile strategist for DigitasLBi told Marketing Week that these brands such as Virgin Atlantic will be largely unaffected by the move, as Google will continue to invest in businesses through the ‘Glass at Work’ program.

Experimentation

The majority of activity that marketers have had with Google Glass have been in the spirit of experimentation.

Zac Pinkham, managing director EMEA for Millennial Media says: “Google Glass was never mean to be a complete consumer proposition. Instead, it is an amazingly high profile example of a test and learn strategy.”

Tesco echoed these sentiments this week (13 Jan), when it announced that it would launch an app for the device, which would allow consumers to voice search products that would then appear on the device.

While Google’s announcement will undoubtedly change some of these plans, it was clear that the main objective for Tesco was to experiment with emerging trends.

A Tesco spokeswoman told Marketing Week, that Tesco was clear about the limitations of the new development. While Tesco is aware that wearable tech is in the early stages of development, the launch was to further understand what customers want from wearable devices.

The problem lies with the consumer

While brands have been able to experiment with Google Glass to create new experiences with consumers the main challenge has been getting them to use the product.

GfK research published in October 2014 shows that while wearables have grown over the year, with devices such as smartwatches showing a 10% -20% volume growth in Q4 2014, sales of smart glasses have been “negligible”, or very low in volume.

Blanford told Marketing Week that privacy concerns and and the interruptive nature of the device is part of the reason that consumers have not responded. He says: “The bigger issue is around societal acceptance, as exemplified by the ‘glasshole’ expression.”

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