Marcus Wohlsen wrote what I think is a fairly persuasive piece arguing that Google Glass will be a commercial failure because you look like an idiot using it. My good friend Tom Lee calls Wohlsen’s piece “truly awful” and goes on to write a fairly persuasive piece about the importance of heads-up displays and mobile computing. The issue here is that pioneering a successful product category and pioneering a successful product are actually different things.
Google, in mostly great ways, is a company with a geek/engineer ethos down to its soul. But that means both that it might make a product like Glass without due consideration of the “how does it make me look” factor (engineering over aesthetics) and also that it might invest in great innovations without due consideration of their prospects as businesses (engineering over commerce). This makes Google one of the great forces for the good in the world, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Google Glass turns out to be a fairly unsuccessful product and nonetheless five years from now everyone who’s anyone is unwrapping a great new heads-up display device for Christmas.