Why Did Google Make Such Ugly Glasses?

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 2 2014 10:43 PM

Why Did Google Make Such Ugly Glasses?

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This looks very dumb.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mat Honan has a great piece about his year as a Google Glass user. The basic take is that if you walk around wearing these funny glasses you get all kinds of terrible responses from other human beings and so you probably shouldn't wear Google Glass. Nonetheless, a heads-up display is pretty neat. And as he says, "Glass, and the other things like it, won’t always be ugly and awkward."

But it really does make you wonder. Why is Glass so damn ugly? Compared to other things Google is doing, "make an attractive pair of glasses" is a pretty trivial problem. Would it be so hard to partner up with Warby Parker and make wearable devices that people would actually want to wear?

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Google's strategy seems to be the idea that the first-mover advantage is so important that it's worth rushing to market with an obviously flawed product rather than waiting another year or two to really make it work. And maybe it's right. But by that logic, Palm and Blackberry should be dominating the smartphone market.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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