Category Archives: google

Google Glass is Dead, or is it…

Google Glass is Dead, or is it…

Yesterday Google announced that they were to halt sales of Google Glass Explorer Edition. It’s only been on sale in the UK for less than seven months, and many expected that it would be followed by a full consumer launch. Another expectation was that the existing Explorer Edition of Glass would be replaced with an updated, cheaper retail version.

So why have Google pulled Glass, there are probably many reasons for this, the official line from Google, according to BBC News is:

The company insists it is still committed to launching the smart glasses as a consumer product, but will stop producing Glass in its present form. Instead it will focus on “future versions of Glass” with work carried out by a different division to before.

You can interpret this response, that this was a planned approach to Google Glass by Google. They had always planned to stop selling Google Glass at some point. There is the possibility that there is a planned consumer or retail edition of Google Glass. However the way in which Google Glass has been “killed” by Google does make me think the possibility if this is very unlikely.

You can of course also interpret this, that with all the issues that Google were facing with Glass, they decided to pull the product and in order not to annoy those people who spent their cash on Glass, placated them with talk of support and future products.

There are many reasons that Google have stopped selling Google Glass. Though they’ve not been too open about these reasons, we can speculate about the cost, privacy and looking downright weird!

One reason is cost, at a £1000 per pair and the additional cost of £500 for a smartphone to work alongside it. This wasn’t a product that could be considered an impulse purchase, or a “nice to have”, for most people this was a significant investment. Though Google Glass was an innovative product that had lots of benefits, was there £1500 value in those benefits? We don’t know how well or how badly it was selling, what we do know that it wasn’t been sold on the high street in retail chains akin to other high value devices.

Another core reason was the negative response that Google Glass got in terms of invasion of privacy, there was lots of press and comment on how the use of Glass would invade people’s privacy, though how was this was that different to the use of cameraphones. Yes using mobile phones is more in your face, than Glass, the look of Glass wasn’t that prominent, you could mistake it for a pair of reading glasses, however after all the negative press, those people who were worried about privacy knew exactly what Glass looked like.

The “you look weird” reason has to be up there near the top. One wearable technology that has been around a while has been the Bluetooth headset for mobile phones, but though an useful technology, the reality is that for most people they would never wear a Bluetooth headset and those that wear them all the time, well, they look for a lot of people either geeky or just plain silly. Similar arguments can be had with those wearing and using Google Glass. It’s one thing to use it an environment such as a workshop or a tech conference, it’s something quite different to wear it on the tube home.

Another reason is what did it bring to the party, that a device we had already, couldn’t do. Maybe a mobile phone wasn’t as clever or as smart as Google Glass, but it could take videos, it could take photographs, it had web access, it notified you, it had a better battery life and you didn’t need to wear it. Yes there were scenarios where not holding a phone and wearing Google Glass would be advantageous, but for most people or most of the time their mobile phone was probably easier.

As I said above, the the in which Google Glass has been “killed” by Google does make me think the possibility of a new consumer retail version of Glass very unlikely. It also raises the question of whether the attraction and functionality of wearables such as smart watches, Google Glass, Apple Watch and other similar devices will have a strong enough pull with consumers to make them a commercial success? What do you think?

Tethering

Nexus One

One of the reasons I like and still use my Google Nexus One, despite it’s age, is that I can use it for tethering. I am also lucky to have a legacy mobile phone contract that means tethering is included as part of my monthly payment.

I actually thought that I had unlimited data, but when I was on holiday and I did a fair bit of video streaming over 3G I did for the first time ever get a text from my phone company telling me I was reaching my fair usage data limit. This actually surprised me as I didn’t think I had a data limit.

Generally the connection is very good with very little latency. I have encountered a couple of issues that happen enough to be annoying.

The first one is when the connection just seems to stop. I am assuming that this is something to do with the 3G connection, and usually very quickly it comes back. Can be annoying when streaming video or if you are in the middle of posting a blog post.

The second issue is that the 3G connection just dies and stops working. The only resolution is to reboot the phone and start all over again.

It is only a 3G connection and until there is a lot more 4G (and it is a lot cheaper) I think I will continue with my current solution. Battery life isn’t perfect, but it generally lasts me for my daily needs and when I need more juice I plug the phone via USB into my laptop.

I like tethering over a dongle as a dongle can only be used by a single laptop, whereas with my phone, my laptop and iPad can be used at the same time, really aids productivity for me.

Adding Apps to Google Drive

If you are a regular user of Google Docs (sorry Google Drive) you will know how useful it is. What I didn’t know, well didn’t register with me, was the way that you can integrate a whole range and variety of apps making it much easier to create stuff.

On a regular vanilla Google account when clicking Create you see the standard document formats that we are all use to. However at the moment if you look down you can see Connect more apps.

Connect with apps

Click this and you will bring up a new dialogue with lots of different apps.

Connect with apps

I do like Draw.io which makes it very easy to create diagrams.

Draw.io

Movenote is a very nice presentation tool that combines video with a document, making it very simple to create short learning objects.

There is also MindMeister mindmapping.

MindMeister

As all the files are stored in your Google Drive you can access them from any computer with a modern web browser.

I am still exploring the different apps available, but if you are already using an app, drop me a comment about which apps you are using.

Update: Just a quick thank you to Yousef Fouda @YFouda who showed me this at the AOSEC meeting today.

Google Reader is Dead

Google Reader is Dead

Google have announced that they are retiring Google Reader in July.

Retiring implies that Google Reader will be taking life a little easier, spend a little more time in the garden, visit National Trust sites, watch Countdown. Retiring implies that we might actually see more of Google Reader as they will be less busy than they were before.

No Google is trying to tone down the reality, the reality of course is that Google are going to kill Google Reader dead!

I’ve used Google Reader for many years, but probably like most people in recent years I’ve not used Google Reader natively, I have used it to deliver RSS feeds into services such as FlipBoard. This has to be one of the reasons why Google are probably retiring the service, the main reason of course is Google+, however another reason must be that we used the Google Reader service (and API) but we rarely visited the actual Google Reader service on the web. This gave Google very opportunities for monetisation compared to other things they do such as Gmail.

There is some concern that the death of Google Reader will actually result in the death of RSS. The reason for this thinking is that curation and sharing of news has moved from RSS onto social networking sites such as Facebook and the Twitter.

Interestingly ask yourself where did you hear about the death of Google Reader first? Was it in Google Reader, or was it on the Twitter? For me it was on the Twitter, and this says a lot about why we are now using social networking sites for sharing news and moving away from RSS.

I do like RSS, it makes sense to me, an easy way to push content to people. However it never really made the mainstream, as a background tool it was perfect, but is (I nearly wrote was) reliant on good tools for making RSS user friendly.

I still want to curate and collate RSS feeds from various sources so I am now looking for a similar alternative, what are you going to do?

Graveyard Photo Source

Don’t be a Fanboy!

Me by Heloukee

I do get very disappointed with people who get so agitated by fanboyism, so much so that they ignore potential solutions as they are not made by their favourite “manufacturer”.

Often I get accused of being an Apple fanboy, which is not too surprising when I sit there at an event with my iPhone, Macbook and iPad. I must be, I am using all Apple equipment…

Uh no…

I use what I think is the best equipment for me in the context of budget, where I am, what I need to do, etc…

What I don’t do is constantly defend Apple regardless of the context. Likewise I don’t “attack” other companies on their products. It doesn’t achieve anything and isn’t helpful.

So what is the difference between constructive criticism and fanboyism?

If you hate everything that Apple makes then you are a fanboy. If you would never touch Windows or Android, then you are a fanboy. If someone criticises a product and the criticism is a valid criticism, and you defend that product regardless, then you are a fanboy. If you choose one company for everything you use (and importantly recommend too) and then attack everyone else for using different things then you are probably a fanboy.

I remember back in the first few years of the 2000s I was telling people about how I liked using OS X, but was told many a time that we shouldn’t be using OS X in education as Windows XP was the industry standard and used by businesses, therefore education should only use OS X. What I found rather amusing was when it came to choosing tablets, those same people who said we must use the “industry standard” of Windows XP, said we shouldn’t use iPads as they were a closed proprietary product… even though by most measures they were the industry standard! The true colours of those people as Microsoft “fanboys” came out.

There isn’t anything really wrong with choosing products from a single company, the reality is if you then spend time attacking choices by others, or defending the company’s products all the time, then that’s fanboyism.

At the end of the day, I will choose and use products that make my life easier, I will write and talk about those products, and I will also make valid criticisms about products I and others use. I am writing this blog article (in draft) using a MacBook and Pages (from Apple). I will publish it online using WordPress (open source) and using a 3G connection via an Android powered Google Nexus One phone. I know people will be able to read it using a variety of platforms and browsers.

So are you a fanboy?

Photo via Heloukee