Google Glass: Over Before It Begins?

There’s been a lot of speculation about Google Glass over the last few months, in fact, it’s had a lot of us in a bit of a tizzy. We don’t always deal with change so wonderfully, and Google Glass had all of us wondering if we were ready for the future. An article by Yahoo! News recently delved into the current state of Glass and what its future looks like. Whether we want to accept change or not, it happens. For awhile there, every time an application of ours would update–say Facebook, Twitter, iOS, etc.–we would all freak out and complain about how much we loathed the changes. But we got used to it, right? Right. We forgot what the old layout of Facebook even looks like at this point. As a matter of fact, we don’t seem to complain all that much about app updates anymore. Huh. So when I read this article it got me thinking.

When I first heard of Google Glass my immediate reaction was “oh no…this is the future,” with a rather loathsome tone. To me, it just seemed like a matter of time before we were all wearing Google Glass, capturing far too many photos, videos (even more than now…which let’s be honest, is a little too much), and being in a state of constant connection. But that future may not be as close as we thought.

Authors Alexei Oreskovic, Sarah McBride and Malathi Nayak of “Google Glass future clouded as some early believers lose faith” analyze where Google Glass is at now, and where it might be headed. In the beginning, Sergey Brin, Google co-founder, is reported to have shown up “bare-faced into a Silicon Valley red-carpet event on Sunday.” It’s noted that he “left his pair in the car.” But this has me wondering…is it just not catching on? Even with the employees of Google itself? Maybe.

Besides questioning the lack of Glass worn by Google co-founders, employees, and other important big-wigs, the main focus of the article was around the application developors for Glass. Where are they now? The article goes into some small detail about the many of the developors who have abandoned their current projects and work for Google Glass. Why? Most of them say because there’s nothing to work towards, no movement, no future. My initial thoughts on this are that of an internal gloating–“Hoorah! We won’t have to wear these stupid glasses around! It’s not going to catch on!”–but regardless of these intial exclamations from me personally, my second thought is, “Well if this isn’t the future (or what’s next), then what is?

Google claims that Glass is still in the works and going strong. But we’ve been waiting on the launch of Google Glass for 2+ years. The hype surrounding it has significantly died down, and we’ve moved on to worrying about the iPhone 6, iPhone 6+, and the latest version of Instagram…or something like that. Here are my thoughts: I think Google Glass is a bust. Sure, glasses are trendy again and all, but does anyone really want to wear glasses that aren’t, well, glasses? No. Of course it’s not all about fashion, but also about how the technology works, but if consumers aren’t willing to sacrifice their style for Google Glass, then the technology doesn’t even really matter. It kind of seems like the developors are catching on. Secondly, the co-founder of Google isn’t even wearing the damn things. If Google can’t get its own, high-profile co-founder to wear them…who will? I’m not saying this guy influences all of the future of technology and fashion, but still. Third and most alarming, the developors are backing out! This in itself shows a lack of forward motion with Glass, and if that’s not an obvious sign, I don’t know what is. Last, we’ve got Google–proudly announcing that no, Google Glass isn’t dead, it’s just still developing, testing, etc. Seems a bit like improving the truth to me, Google. Even if Google Glass is still indeed developing and the future exists, what’s with the premature hype? We got our undies in a bunch for no reason (the consumers, at least), and now we’re just grouchy that we even cared in the first place.

So, while it remains unclear if Google Glass has a future or not, it seems as though we have awhile to wait before any sort of eye-wearable technology really launches to the general public. For those of us who are holding on for dear life to our iPhone’s, Samsung Galaxy’s, hell, even Blackberry’s, the future isn’t looking so scary anymore…just a little bleak for Google Glass, and we don’t mind.

And now I can sit back and go back to complaining about those app updates. I mean, iOS 8 really won’t download on my iPhone 4?! (see what I did there?)

Let me know what your thoughts on Google Glass are in the comments below.


Flavor of the Week: November 3-9

It’s been so long! Life has been busy and my playlist has been updated since, but it’s taken me awhile to get around to it. This is what I’ve been diggin’ on lately:

  1. I Heard It Through The Grapevine by Marvin Gaye
  2. Threat by Jay Z
  3. Cheese by Stromae
  4. Oh My Darling Don’t Cry by Run The Jewels
  5. I Don’t Fuck With You by Big Sean
  6. Je Cours by Stromae
  7. AssShots remix feat. R O Y A L T Y by Childish Gambino
  8. Fucks Given by Childish Gambino

Small list, but these are the new/old tunes that have caught my ear recently. Enjoy!

Taylor Swift Pulled Her Catalog From Spotify…But What About Everyone Else?

The recent pull of Taylor Swifts “1989” from Spotify has got everybody talking. A recent post from Music Industry Blog, “Windowing, Shake It Off,” goes into a little more depth about windowing, Taylor Swift’s pull from Spotify, and what this all means for the future of music streaming.

If you don’t know what “windowing” is, a simple explanation is this: having a product available for a certain period of time through a specific medium for a price, and then taking that product away from said medium and making it available elsewhere. A great example of windowing is the movie and film industry. A movie is first released in theaters for the lovely price of $10+ per viewing. It is then later available to rent—sometimes this coincides with it being available in *cheap* theaters as well—and lastly the film becomes available for purchase. If you’re an avid movie goer or watcher, you might be spending a lot of money for the same product, just at different times. This might be a move the music industry is making, based on Taylor Swift’s latest move.

The article mentioned above mentions that Taylor’s pull from Spotify is a temporary one, in order to collect money from a more lucrative revenue stream: digital downloads. And it worked! The author suggests that other artists watching Taylor will probably make similar moves around the time of their future album releases. When reading this, I definitely agreed with what the author said. However, it made me think back to other instances in the industry where artists had made a major move and copycats ensued. For example, when Radiohead offered their album for free or when Nine Inch Nails offered the “pay what you want” method. These strategies worked really well for these particular bands, but it wasn’t necessarily something that popularized within the industry for other artists or for the fans. While it was initially a tempting offer and a new, cool idea, once it had been done, fans realized they could just get the music for free and were less apt to pay anything, therefore defeating the purpose, in a way. It wasn’t going to make sense monetarily in the long haul for any of said artists. So will the same thing happen with windowing? Will consumers realize what’s happening and refuse to participate?

I think that consumers won’t realize what’s happening at first. For those of us in the know and keeping up with what’s going on in the industry, it’s fairly obvious what’s happening here, but for the average consumer, it may not be so obvious.

A few questions that crossed my mind: 1) will this push consumers to go back to purchasing music if the music is only accessible through streaming for a small window of time? 2) will this push consumers to purchase the paid subscriptions? 3) what will a paid subscription include? 4) what will tiers of payments look like for music streaming services? 5) will there still be ads for the minimum payment of streaming services? 6) how long will artists allow their catalogs to be available on streaming services? 7) will this ever work with the growing number of streaming services?

Of course, as the hopeful music industry professional that I am, I can only hope that such a model would push consumers to purchase music rather than stream, but it would be naive to think that streaming isn’t here to stay. Streaming is here for the long haul, and we’ll have to see how it pans out with the future of “windowing.”

The final point the author made was to forewarn artists about the free services such as YouTube and how they are more of a potential threat than Spotify ever will be. Of course, I think we will continue to turn a blind eye because of the video content YouTube allows us to provide for our fans. Also, as we all know, people are compensated for YouTube through the placement of ads and what not, so it’s not as though there is no revenue coming in from the service. What we have to worry about is the scary number of people who upload albums in entirety and get hundreds of thousands of views while the artist gets no compensation for those plays—at least that’s what the author suggests.

After reading that particular comment, I had to think long and hard about it. As an avid YouTube user—mostly to watch beauty/fashion vloggers—it was hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this service I love so much might not be so great for artists. I still believe YouTube is a key resource for artists, as well as the rest of the YouTube and Internet world, but it’s possible that there should be a better regulation of “illegal” activity like this.

It’s a hard truth to swallow, but I think the author makes a valid point. Although Spotify pays micropennies per stream to artists, it’s better than nothing. However, I don’t believe Taylor Swift pulled her catalog because of the “lack” of money she was receiving from Spotify, but rather that she could capitalize on digital download sales if it wasn’t available elsewhere. It gained her a lot of free press and publicity that she otherwise wouldn’t have gotten, and that was the idea behind it. Taylor Swift will be back on Spotify sometime soon, it would be shortsighted not to think so. As far as YouTube and Soundcloud go, we’ve got some research to do. How will things unfold in the years to come? Leave your predictions in the comments below.