Is Google Glass Losing Its Sheen Already? - Analyst Blog

While Google Inc. ( GOOGL ) remains enthusiastic about its groundbreaking Google Glass technology, some app developers have already started to lose interest.

Many developers are of the opinion that Google Glass has little chance of becoming a hit with consumers.

Controversial Internet-connected Eyewear

The journey of Google Glass hasn't been as rosy as expected since the beta version was launched in 2012.

According to Reuters, 9 of 16 Glass app developers it contacted had stopped working on their apps. The coders cited reasons such as a lack of customer interest and poor hardware specifications. According to a recent study led by Dr. Tsontcho Ianchulev, an ophthalmologist, the structure of these glasses could curb natural peripheral vision, thereby creating blind spots that compromise on the safety of the user while engaging in routine tasks like driving or walking.

Initially, developers were fascinated by this fresh technology that had the potential to rival smartphones, but gradually lost enthusiasm owing to its price, privacy concerns and overall aesthetics.

Aggravating the situation, the news wire's report suggests that the Google Glass model will go on sale next year -- almost two years after the company began public trials by selling the specs to "Explorers" who paid a hefty $1,500 for a piece.

While early adopters of the device were renamed "Glassholes" by a few, offices were a lot more Google Glass friendly.

The big social problem Google Glass is facing is mainly attributed to the built-in camera, which is capable of silently filming anyone without consent. For this reason, establishments like movie theaters and bars are beginning to ban Glass.

Google Optimistic as Ever

Glass suffered some public relations blows recently, when Twitter ( TWTR ) stopped supporting its Glass app, and when Luxottica's CEO - a Glass partner - called the device embarrassing.

However, one thing that has been in its favor is the Glass At Work program, which matches developers with businesses and industries wanting to use Glass in their company. With 10 official partners in that program, and industries from health care to manufacturing, travel and farming, establishments are seeing the positives of having their workers use Glass on the job.

Recently, Magic Leap, Inc., a Florida-based software development company, raised $542 million in series B funding led by Google.

Magic Leap claims to have an exceptional "light field" technology that allows the amalgamation of virtual reality with actual reality. The huge funding round signifies Google's belief in Magic Leap's claims to have overcome some of the physical and sensory problems that VR (virtual reality) and AR (augmented reality) can result in. In part, this may be due to how Magic Leap "3-D light sculpture."

The Magic Leap investment may seem to be related to Android, Chrome and Apps.

However, since Sundar Pichai, the one responsible for these platforms, is joining Magic Leap's board, proprietary technologies like Magic Leap's could take Google Glass to another level.

Getting these technologies together could carve a path for a truly enhanced reality experience as opposed to Glass' current projector-like interface.

Other Stocks That Warrant a Look

Google currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Better-ranked stocks in this industry include Mercadolibre, Inc. ( MELI ), World Energy Solutions, Inc. ( XWES ) and Baidu Inc. ( BIDU ). While Mercadolibre sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both Baidu and World Energy Solutions carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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