Google Glass suspended: how you deliver content matters as much as what you deliver

This blog is less about the contents of content and more about how it is delivered, following the news that Google is to stop producing its smart glasses in their current form.

After the company set up the Explorer programme in 2013 (summer 2014 in the UK), offering the glasses to software developers for $1,500, it was assumed they would go on sale to the general public fairly soon. Instead, the tech giant has said it will stop producing the glasses in their current form and concentrate on developing “future versions”.

People who tried out the early Google Glass were enthusiastic about being able to receive information directly onto a small screen on the glasses, to take photos and videos, and to look up directions. However as one guinea pig, the BBC’s technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, pointed out: “It makes its users look daft, and that meant that it was never going to appeal to a wide audience.”

So while businesses and media organisations focus on making their content as accessible as possible, it turns out there are limits to your audience’s enthusiasm. No doubt it is extremely convenient to have the contents of the internet streamed directly to your eyeballs, and to be able to take pictures on the spot without rooting around for your phone or camera. But if you have to look like the Invisible Man, or risk getting a punch on the nose by people concerned about their privacy, then no thanks.

Gadgets and content have to work together and fit with the way people live. The majority will not buy a piece of technology that makes them look a prat, however useful. In content terms, there’s no point posting videos that take ten minutes to download or 20,000 word essays on pet subjects, because that is not how people read or watch online. The medium is the message. Now where did I hear that?

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