Dennis D. McDonald ( consults from Alexandria Virginia. His services include writing & research, proposal development, and project management.

“Google Glass Isn’t Dead It’s Just Resting”

“Google Glass Isn’t Dead It’s Just Resting”

I’m not a Google Glass user but even I can spot the shortcomings of Gene Marks’ Forbes online article How Google Screwed Up Google Glass.

If you read the article carefully you’ll see that Google hasn’t necessarily “screwed up” Glass. What Google has done has been to “screw up” Google Glass’ development and marketing processes, not the technology itself.

Back in February 2013 I published Why I Hope Google Glass Succeeds followed by Has Google Lost Control of Glass?

In the former I commented on Glass’ “creepiness” factor. I also noted that “… Glass has the potential for revolutionizing how we interact with and control our technologies through a combination of movement, visual, and voice commands.”

I still believe that but in the second article I also noted that, “… evangelists like Scoble might be muddying the water where other quieter folks are actually working on clever or original applications that will actually benefit people … I am beginning to wonder if this is evidence that Google really doesn’t know how to manage the process — and might have actually lost control.”

It’s the latter point — Google’s loss of control over the development of marketing of glass — that I think is really at the heart of this Forbes article. I just don’t think Google knows how to manage the development and marketing of complex products like Glass. Sure, Google as an institution nurtures relationships with many different development and engineering communities. Bringing a complex product like Glass into the market requires much more than the development of relationships with engineers and software developers.

The web focused dictum “fail early and fail often” might make sense when you’re developing and releasing successive versions of a software product that can be quickly updated via downloaded upgrades. The development and adoption process for something as complex as Glass has many more moving parts that need to be controlled. Google may be showing it is not in a position to control them even if it wanted to.

Perhaps you can say that, not that Google has “failed” with Glass, but the Glass has been an experiment that has not yet arrived, an experiment where Google has partially lost control just as Google has lost control of how Android is marketed and supported.

I’m sure that a lot of good will come from Glass in areas such as medicine. For now, though, Glass is an expensive learning process for Google that it has been able to maintain because other parts of the Google Empire are still profitable. Should Google’s profitability falter, it’s possible that Google will have to rethink its approach to managing development of longshot innovative products.

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Copyright © 2014 by Dennis D. McDonald, Ph.D. Dennis is an independent project management consultant based in Alexandria, Virginia. He has worked throughout the U.S. and in Europe, Egypt, and China. His clients for project planning and project management have included the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Environmental Protection Agency, the World Bank, AIG, ASHP, and  the National Library of Medicine. In addition to consulting company ownership and management his experience includes database publishing and data transformation, integration of large systems, corporate technology strategy, social media adoption, statistical research, and IT cost analysis. (My apologies to Monty Python for the title of this article.)

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