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So, we looked into Google Glass…

By: Leon C.

Maximizing the quality of our craft means embarking down all the right routes, but it also means avoiding the wrong ones. The ad industry is prone to seduction by the latest trends and gimmicks without first comprehensively weighing their benefits, so a healthy skepticism can save media budgets from dead-end projects.

We at TDH believe that augmented reality (AR) will be a key media component in the future of advertising. With the release of Pokémon Go, we’ve touted the potential of AR. But, it wasn’t always executed well.

Over the past week I had the opportunity to use the Google Glass Explorer. This device received a fair amount of hype when it was released, but has since been the subject of heavy criticism and disuse. The following critique of the Google Glass Explorer is why TDH didn’t hop on the AR train two years ago.

  • Bad user interface: you would think that a software as simple as Glass’ would be easy to pick up. Nope. Connecting Glass to the network is a hassle, and the onscreen prompts are vague.
  • Limited features: Glass’ capabilities are considerably limited by its tiny screen. It can really only complement activities that could otherwise be accomplished with a smartphone.
  • Expensive: perhaps the biggest reason why Glass failed is a simple matter of supply and demand. At $1,500, Glass is inaccessible to the majority of the public, and couldn’t capitalize on the “everyone has one” phenomenon.
  • It hurts your eyes: for me, this was the deal breaker. I couldn’t use Glass for more than 10 minutes before my right eye started to strain.  It seemed like my eyes couldn’t focus on anything but the screen, which made doing regular tasks fairly difficult. Using Glass was a literal headache.
  • Low battery life: your Glass will only last for about two hours of normal use before you’re stuck with $1,500 piece of non-functioning equipment attached to your face.
  • It looks ridiculous: this was everybody’s first thought when the first Glass demo was released. To those who couldn’t care less about how they appear, I salute you. But for most of us, Glass brings back unwanted memories of orthodontic headgear.

It’s not all bad, though; Glass became a critical stepping stone on the path to creating a real market for AR. It started the first serious conversation about AR in the tech world. Google was just a little too ambitious with the way it executed Glass, leading to the problems that caused its failure. By learning from Google’s mistakes, other developers are now better equipped to make AR a more consumer-friendly experience — one that advertisers will be able to consider as a viable media channel. Niantic (the creator of Pokémon Go) did it right by giving the world a popular, free AR experience that exists on a platform that people are comfortable with using. As more apps like Pokémon Go develop, the market landscape for AR will become clearer, paving the way for Google to relaunch Glass the right way.

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