Friday, 16 January 2015

Notes from the cutting room floor: "Google has mastered technology, but they need to better understand people"

I wrote the following paragraph on 3rd November, 2013, shortly after a big rise in Google's share price. I never got round to expanding it into a full post. This week the Google Glass developer program was put on hiatus so it seemed like an apt point to dig it up. 

Google has made the news this week for its share price reaching record highs. I’ve been observing the company keenly for many years and greatly admire the technical prowess and creativity of its employees and the vision of its founders and leaders. In the past the company has pioneered a vast array of internet services and is one of the chief reasons why much of what is online is available for free (including this blog). Now it looks as though they plan to be a pioneer in the hardware world, and this is likely to be the greatest challenge they will ever face. There are numerous possible miss-steps, and above all I want to highlight the risk that, while they have mastered technology, they lack an understanding of how it is socially adopted and accepted. This will leave some of their greatest innovations – Google Glass and driverless cars – down a rocky path, with a real chance of outright rejection by society.

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