Google Glass has had a rough year in the court of public opinion. Not only has the device become the fodder of jokes for late-night comedians, but even some of its high-profile early adopters have started bashing it with gleeful abandon. Forbes has written a good autopsy of all the mistakes that Google has made when rolling out Glass to the general public and it gives some pretty convincing answers about why something that generated massive media hype when it was first teased two years ago is now seen as the next Segway.
One thing that immediately stands out in the Forbes piece is that Google probably shouldn’t have released Glass on a limited basis for a whopping $1,500 per device. This ensured that only a tiny cross-section of people would be able to try out Glass early on: Hardcore gadget geeks with a lot of disposable income. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with being a hardcore gadget geek with a lot of disposable income, Google might have wanted to see a broader cross-section of the public adopt its headset so that it didn’t get a reputation as a gadget for elitist nerds.
Or as developer Dave Winer recently wrote, “there’s something really offensive about a super-rich company asking people to pay $1500 to beta-test their product… for all the billions Google has, they have to do PR just like everyone else.”
To get Google’s reaction to these criticisms, it talked with Glass marketing boss Ed Sanders, who says that Google knew that it was taking a big risk when it decided to release Glass on such a limited basis but he says the company wanted to attract early adopters who were very passionate about the product.
The problem is, though, that some of those early adopters haven’t exactly been the best ambassadors for the device. Recall that Google felt compelled to release an entire etiquette guide earlier this year that advised early adopters to stop being “Glassholes.” On top of that, some early adopters have also publicly trashed the device by complaining that it gives them headaches or simply saying, as Jeff Jarvis did, that they “*hate*” the headset.
All told, it looks like Glass has a rocky road ahead of it and Google has its work cut out trying to change public opinion on it.