Should Brands Give Up On Google Glass?

Wear­ables are poised to gain more pop­u­lar­i­ty in 2015, but will Google Glass become a viable way to con­nect with con­sumers via brand­ed apps?

Lisa Lacy By Lisa Lacy. Join the discussion » 0 comments

Sev­er­al brands debuted apps for Google Glass last year, in part to try to cap­ture the atten­tion of ear­ly adopters, as well as to take advan­tage of this whizbang new tech­nol­o­gy. A year lat­er, Google has announced it has 100 approved Glass­ware apps and new brand­ed inte­gra­tions con­tin­ue to pop up here and there. How­ev­er, while wear­ables are poised to take off in a big way in 2015, the future of Google Glass – and, there­fore, its brand­ed apps – remains uncer­tain. So what does that mean for brands?

With the debut of Apple Watch in ear­ly 2015 and excite­ment sur­round­ing devices like Fit­Bit, Nike+ Fuel­band, and Peb­ble Smart­watch, wear­ables are cer­tain­ly a hot buzz­word these days and are only poised to get big­ger. And that means it’s a space brands are watch­ing and exper­i­ment­ing with.

And, to date, much of that exper­i­men­ta­tion has been with Google Glass apps.

In Octo­ber, for exam­ple, British auto man­u­fac­tur­er Jaguar rolled out its British Intel­li­gence mar­ket­ing cam­paign, which includes an aug­ment­ed real­i­ty expe­ri­ence with Blip­par, an app avail­able on Google Glass. The inte­gra­tion will allow users to “blip” print adver­tise­ments in Conde Nast pub­li­ca­tions by look­ing at them through Google Glass to acti­vate addi­tion­al dig­i­tal con­tent.

Star­wood Hotels, too, has a Google Glass app in beta, the SPG for Glass app, which it says allows Google Glass wear­ers to search hotels by voice or GPS, call and book any hotel, view upcom­ing stay details, and access account infor­ma­tion and turn-by-turn direc­tions.

Accord­ing to the Star­wood web­site, the app is in beta and “will be updat­ed based on mem­ber feed­back and new func­tion­al­i­ty added to Glass.”

In June 2013, dig­i­tal pro­mo­tion com­pa­ny announced KitchMe for Glass, a recipe and meal prepa­ra­tion app for Google Glass.

Accord­ing to a blog post, KitchMe for Glass fea­tures include recipe search by voice, ingre­di­ent lists and step-by-step recipe direc­tions that can be read out loud. It is tied to’s web appli­ca­tion, which describes as a “next-gen­er­a­tion meal plan­ning and sav­ings web appli­ca­tion” that “unique­ly com­bines recipes, meal plan­ning, sav­ings and shop­ping-list capa­bil­i­ties.”

The post says addi­tion­al fea­tures like the abil­i­ty to take pho­tos of meals and share them with friends were in devel­op­ment and future fea­tures could also include the abil­i­ty to use voice recog­ni­tion to nav­i­gate the app “so that get­ting cook­ing infor­ma­tion hands-free could become a real­i­ty.”

How­ev­er, in a recent email, a rep says there are no new updates planned for the Google Glass app.

And, in August 2013, Fideli­ty Labs, which says it devel­ops “inno­v­a­tive ideas and prod­ucts” for a vari­ety of affil­i­at­ed Fideli­ty Invest­ment com­pa­nies, said it was par­tic­i­pat­ing in a Google ear­ly devel­op­er pro­gram and was work­ing with a pro­to­type of Google Glass to “bet­ter under­stand the tech­nol­o­gy and how it may ben­e­fit our cus­tomers.”

As such, it pro­duced a video show­ing “a day in the life of a Fideli­ty cus­tomer using Google Glass” and invit­ed cus­tomers to sign up for its “first exper­i­ment with Google Glass,” which would allow users to receive, at mar­ket close, quotes from the major index­es.

But despite these efforts, Google Glass’ future remains uncer­tain. Some say it is dead. Oth­ers are a bit more optimistic/diplomatic.

I think it’s always been the case that Google Glass is a long-term tech­nol­o­gy play,” said Joe Las­z­lo, senior direc­tor of the Mobile Mar­ket­ing Cen­ter of Excel­lence at the IAB. “I think we’re still at the ear­ly days of all wear­ables – look at the excite­ment of Apple Watch and oth­er smart­watch­es and fit­ness devices. There’s not a lot of adop­tion yet and that may be what you’re see­ing around Google Glass in part. Peo­ple who are real­ly ear­ly to embrace it and devel­op apps for it are maybe start­ing to rethink that. But I think any­body who has a real­is­tic time­frame for pace, I don’t think any­body in that camp would have writ­ten it off. They just real­ize it’s a long­time effort.”

In oth­er words, Google Glass isn’t dead – it’s just slow.

I think it’s inter­est­ing – the oth­er thing you don’t see so much now is neg­a­tive arti­cles and blog posts about peo­ple with Google Glass being obnox­ious and such, which is a sign we’re kind of past the ear­ly gut reac­tion stage, but not to mass adop­tion stage yet. We’re at an inter­im point,” Las­z­lo said. “With most new tech­nol­o­gy, things get qui­et for a while. True believ­ers con­tin­ue to be true believ­ers, but it will take anoth­er year to two years before there’s a deci­sive kind of mar­ket deci­sion about what Google Glass’ future looks like.”

For his part, Ben Reuben­stein, pres­i­dent of cre­ative agency Pos­si­ble Mobile, agrees Google Glass is still a “niche exper­i­ment from Google.”

But, per Reuben­stein, brands can still use Google Glass as a “R&D play­ground” as they “[think] about how heads up dis­plays will become more com­mon­place in the future.”

In addi­tion, like the brands that were ear­ly to roll out Google Glass apps, Reuben­stein notes, “Inno­v­a­tive ideas now will show tech­no­log­i­cal lead­er­ship and offer brands anoth­er way to con­nect with con­sumers through demon­stra­tions.”

Lisa Lacy

Written by Lisa Lacy

Lisa is a senior features writer for Inked. She also previously covered digital marketing for Incisive Media. Her background includes editorial positions at Dow Jones, the Financial Times, the Huffington Post, AOL, Amazon, Hearst, Martha Stewart Living and the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund.

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