The big story last month was Google X saying goodbye to Glass and sending it to Tony Fadell, the CEO of Google subsidiary and smart-home-thing-maker Nest. It was unclear what would happen to Glass once Fadell took the reins, but a new story in the New York Times today seems to shed some light on the subject: Fadell’s going to start from scratch and try to make Glass something actual people actually want.
The piece as a whole is a fascinating inside look into the genesis of Glass and its premature introduction to the world via the Explorer program. The article confirms what many have suspected for a long time: not only did Google know that Glass was far from ready for any kind of public release, many inside Google X actually considered the device a prototype. The reason it was released in the way it was – and the reason it had such an abrupt end last month – had more to do with the whims of Google cofounder Sergey Brin.
But the important takeaway comes at the end of the article:
“Several people with knowledge of Mr. Fadell’s plans for Glass said he was going to redesign the product from scratch and would not release it until it was complete. ‘There will be no public experimentation,’ one adviser to Mr. Fadell said. ‘Tony is a product guy and he’s not going to release something until it’s perfect.’”
Frankly, this is the kind of attitude that might have made another recent Google project, Android Wear, a better product right of the gate. The wearable-focused operating system was plagued with problems from UI to straight-up bugs, and is only now approaching real usability, many months after being released to the world. Apple has been wisely waiting to perfect the Apple Watch before releasing it – at least, that’s what we think. We’ll know for sure when it hits wrists this April.
Will Tony Fadell have the magic touch to make Glass more than an accessory for privileged nerds? Considering how great the Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect smoke detector turned out to be, I have confidence that if anyone can crack the Glass nut, Fadell can. Interestingly, all of the smart-glasses products from companies like Epson and Sony have been like bad photocopies of Glass. If nothing else, as long as Apple doesn’t jump into the game any time soon, Google has a clear path to making Glass the true success the folks at Google X always hoped it would be.
[Source: New York Times]