There were rumblings that Google Glass would be ready for a late 2013 release, and that was certainly the presumption that most of us in the tech biz had. But now new remarks from Google Chairman Eric Schmidt are pegging a later timeframe in 2014.
Schmidt dropped that bomb when he spoke with Martha Kearney on BBC Radio 4 over the weekend for The World at One. In the middle of the interview, Kearney asked the simple question point-blank: "How soon is [Google Glass] likely to come onto the market?" At first, Schmidt didn't respond with anything we didn't know before — "there will be thousands of [Google Glass] in use by developers over the next months, and then based on their feedback, we'll make some product changes…" But then he capped it with, "it's probably a year-ish away."
You can almost hear the legions of tech geeks letting out their exasperated sighs in unison.
Believe it or not, a longer wait may not actually be bad news. In fact, it's clear that the company is taking Glass very seriously, which is a great thing. Unlike other Google experiments, which sometimes come off as half-finished, full of bugs and only slightly useful, the company seems to be taking pains to smooth out the rough edges here. After all, Glass is a new product category involving both hardware and software, and it will be an expensive one at that. Everyone is hoping the retail price will come down off the $1,500 developer version, but even if it's half off at $750, that's still a huge chunk of change for the average consumer.
Think of it this way — would you want to blow all that money on a technology that was rushed to market? Me neither.
At the very least, the delay gives potential users time to think through some of the other things surrounding the product — like behavior. Several pundits and privacy advocates are verily creeped out by a wearable device that may or may not let others immediately know if they're being recorded. On that topic, Schmidt said:
"The fact of the matter is that we'll have to develop some new social etiquette. It's obviously not appropriate to wear these glasses in situations where recording is not correct. Companies like Google have a very important responsibility to keep your information safe but you have a responsibility as well which is to understand what you're doing, how you're doing it, and behave appropriately and also keep everything up to date."
A segment of Kearney's interview with Schmidt can be heard below. You can jump to the 4:26 mark to hear the section about Google Glass, or listen to the whole clip to hear Schmidt weigh in on everything from the company's self-driving cars, holographic projection technology, and the nature of privacy to North Korea's insular approach to technology.