Silicon Valley tech giant Google announced today that it will be opening its fledgling (re: failing) ‘Glass Explorer Program’ to the general public. The catch? The loosening of restrictions on the company’s highly secretive Glass will only last for 24-hours. Starting at 6am PST and 9am EST today, anyone in the United States with $1,500 to spare and space for another junk technology can purchase the augmented reality wearable computer from the Glass website. Supplies, as with most sensationalized marketing campaigns, are extremely limited.
“I don’t expect a lot of people to fork out that kinda money,” explains Andreas Huttenrauch, Chief Digital Strategist at Globi Web Solutions. “That’s still very expensive. I’m actually very surprised at that number. One thing I need to know is, how does it work, and how do people who already wear glasses wear it, which would probably be the vast majority of geeks who would be interested in this.”
Not the First Glass Marketing Initiative of 2014
The move to temporarily open up the ‘Explorer Program’ comes only weeks after the search engine behemoth launched its ‘Glass for Business’ campaign, hoping to improve adoption of its wearable technology among small business owners in the States. Just as the company has struggled to get the American public interested in the technology, only a few sectors of the economy have taken a bite of Google’s tech bait.
While certain industries, most notably athletics, medicine, and law enforcement, have hit the ground running with Glass, many professionals simply don’t see the point of adding yet another piece of questionable technology to their tool-belts. Unfortunately, the professional sector is really the least of Google’s worries.
Consumers Don’t Care
The biggest obstacle for Google is the consumer market. Until the hefty price-tag drops to standard tech levels, somewhere in the ballpark of $300, most analysts agree that the company is going to have a hard time finding any traction in the open consumer market, even with Millennials, who are known to think nothing of dropping exorbitant amounts on the latest smart devices.
If price were the only issue, it’s likely that Glass would eventually find its niche among consumers. The problem? Price is truly the last thing on consumers’ minds. A recent study from research firm Toluna found that the biggest obstacle for consumer adoption of Glass is something that can’t be fixed by finding cheaper production techniques. When polled, 72% of Americans said that Google Glass represents too big of a privacy concern for them to make a purchase. In an age when the NSA is left to roam without a leash, consumers don’t want a piece of technology that can record their whereabouts and take video of the things they do. In other words, no matter how many 24-hour offerings Google announces, Glass will likely remain a really expensive experimental project and nothing more for the foreseeable future.