If You Search Google, It’s Painfully Easy to See Why Google Glass Needs a Reinvention

Gadget couldn't shake 'Glasshole' reputation

A simple Google search for "glass wearer" makes it abundantly clear why Google Glass as we know it is no longer available in the marketplace and is being moved under Nest founder Tony Fadell for an overhaul. Here are some of the top results:


  • "Another Google Glass Wearer Attacked in San Francisco."
  • "Google Glass wearers can steal your password."
  • "Google Glass wearer removed from AMC theater."
  • "Google Glass wearer interrogated."
  • "Google Glass wearer robbed at Taser point."
  • "The revolt against Goggle Glassholes."

And that's just the first page of the results. Also, type "Google Glass wearer" into the search bar, and it will auto-fill these words: attacked, kicked out, assaulted.

This was the kind of attention that tarnished Google's high-tech moonshot, an initially pure concept to bring the utility of mobile devices to glasses. But the world had other ideas, and despite a core enthusiastic group of Glass Explorers anointed by Google to test-drive the gadget over the past two years, the search giant said today it was rethinking the whole project. It would no longer selectively sell Google Glass, the company announced today. The Mountain View, Calif.-based giant had been asking $1,500 for the device.

Instead, it is reorganizing the team that worked on Glass. Now, that doesn't mean the experiment is a total fail—glasses-based wearables could eventually make a comeback. But it is clear their time is not yet here.

Google Glass has a small display in the upper right-hand corner of the frame, and it initially generated enthusiasm for a future of easy mobile Internet and communication use. The units could provide directions, or they could help doctors immediately pull up a patient's condition.

When the device was featured in Vogue, it appeared to have a shot at high fashion. But out in public, it at times seemingly made people want to assault wearers, and call them Glassholes.

Marketers and app developers were initially excited by the prospect of a new platform, but there have never been enough users to make Glass any more than a novelty for them, a chance to play around with what could be a key part of advertising's future.

Even Apple CEO Tim Cook and Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg have publicly criticized the concept as it is. Just this week, Zuckerberg said: There will be a wearable future, yet "maybe it will look like just normal glasses so it won't look weird like some of the stuff that exists today."

He was hardly alone in thinking Google Glass just looked funny, and no fashion designers or famous glasswear company could really change that perception.

Even Google CEO Larry Page had been called out for not putting on a pair when on stage at public events.

The fact is, Glass was considered a tech abomination the second a naked geek wore them in the shower and proclaimed to the world he would never take them off again. Everyday consumers saw such scenes and decided that they'd never put the device on, and many were even hostile. Sure there were moments where it seemed Glass could make it in the real world, but those occasions were fleeting.

At any rate, here's a look back at all those times a Google Glass early adopter was shunned and worse, and we can reflect on yet another admirable try at changing the world brought low by unceasing ridicule.

In March 2013, a Seattle bar and eatery, 5 Point Café, was among the first to ban Glass, but not the last.

In January '14, Robert Scoble, known for his tech cred, posted a picture online of himself in the shower wearing Glass. He has since changed his mind about never taking them off.

In February '14, a Glass wearer was attacked at a San Francisco bar where patrons were angered by her filming.

In March '14Google had to issue a primer to help Glass wearers combat their negative public image. The primer followed etiquette reminders it sent out in February with tips like "don't be creepy or rude."

In April '14, a Glass wearer was robbed of his face computer at Taser point. Also that month, a Business Insider reporter said his Google Glass was ripped from his face and smashed in San Francisco.

In June 2014, Jon Stewart's Daily Show featured Glass wearers who said they had been victims of hate crimes.