Google says that it was wrong to let expectations about its Glass wearable gadget become overheated, according to the head of the Google X research lab on Tuesday.
The Internet giant did not do enough to convey the fact that the $1,500 computer that fits on a pair of eyeglasses was simply a prototype and not a finished product, said Google’s Astro Teller in a talk at the SXSW (South by South West) conference in Austin, Texas.
Too much attention for Google Glass
“We allowed and sometimes even encouraged too much attention for the program,” said Teller, whose title at Google is Captain of Moonshots, in a talk that discussed how his group has learned from its failures.
Google stopped selling Glass to consumers earlier this year, saying that it was time to pause and reset the product’s strategy. The company however does still sell Glass to businesses.
The device was at first met with enthusiasm among tech fans when it was unveiled in 2012. However Glass, which lets users access email on its miniature eye-level screen and record video with its camera, ran into problems quickly. Many mocked its appearance, while others expressed concerns about privacy in terms of making surreptitious recordings.
Teller said that the bumps and scrapes the company found with Glass were “absolutely critical for informing the future of Glass and wearables in general.”
He also discussed the positive aspects of setbacks for other projects at Google X, such as drones, solar-powered balloons and self-driving cars.
Google had apparently designed its autonomous vehicles so that humans could take the controls when necessary, however changed its mind when it was discovered that such as setup was not safe enough. The current version of Google’s prototype self-driving car has no steering wheel or brake pedal, and puts the machine in control at all times.
This decision <to eliminate the controls> was not easy, he said, noting that the first version of the company’s modified SUVs had advanced to the point where they could navigate highways on their own extremely well.
“We probably could have made a lot of money selling those”, Teller said.
Larry Banks is a keen follower of technology and finance. He has worked for a variety of online publications, writing about a diverse range of topics including mobile networks, patents, and Internet video delivery technologies.