The Wall Street Journal has crushed some dreams with the first line of a new report on Google Glass, as it states the highly anticipated smart glasses are, “Years away from hitting the European market.” Yep, that’s years plural, rather than the months we’re expecting to wait for the American release.
Google Glass is one of the most intriguing new pieces of technology on the horizon, of which we’re aware anyway, and while it’s not all that much of a surprise its going to have a restricted release, it’s saddening to hear the amount of time it may take to launch elsewhere in the world. The news comes after Google paid a visit to Brussels, home of the European Parliament, where it showed Glass to politicians, lawmakers, and journalists.
The object of the visit, according to those present, was to show how Glass will operate to those who will be making and passing the regulations to allow the device to be sold there. Apparently, Google is pushing it as something that will minimize the amount of time we spend staring at our phones, and as a little more than a flashy Bluetooth headset. Way to play it down, Google.
In the U.S., Glass is already in the hands of 8,000 beta testers known as Explorers, but no such initiative is planned for Europe. Why? The report says one of the main reasons for the delay in getting it to the UK and Europe is Glass’ inability to understand anything other than an American accent. As it’s controlled primarily by voice, this is a considerable problem, although surely teaching it the word “Glass” can also rhyme with “farce” can’t be that difficult?
Apart from the speech issues, Google may also have to find a willing partner through which to sell Glass. The specs will need to be fitted to your face if you buy a pair, and many people may not like them once they’ve tried them out, and none of that can happen if they’re only sold online. A rumor linked Google with Best Buy recently, a store which has no European presence.
So, although Google is working on getting Glass approved in Europe, the road to release is looking depressingly long.