Business

Why Snapchat's New Spectacles Will Succeed Where Google Glass Failed.

Warning: what follows is the hottest of hot takes. Read at your own risk. 🔥 🔥 🔥

Last week Snapchat, er, sorry, Snap Inc. unveiled their new wearable device. Spectacles are a pair of sunglasses with two built in cameras that let the user record video in 10 second snippets. Everyone knew they were coming, but still, they were all confused and surprised. Didn’t anyone in the Snap Inc. office see what happened with Google Glass? Are they crazy or just oblivious?

But if you dig just a little bit deeper, these glasses don’t actually seem insane. They actually seem like they could be… cool. Really cool.

This tweet from Aaron Levie sums it up…

Why Snapchat's New Spectacles Will Succeed Where Google Glass Failed.

@levie

At first glance all of this seems like another crazy Snapchat shenanigan. But if you’re not careful, you’ll miss that Snapchat is growing up. And they’re growing into a company that’s way more than just the only way I can get my little sister to respond to me.

Spectacles aren’t Google Glass, Snap’s designers clearly paid attention to why Google Glass failed. And they’ve managed to develop a fascinating product that succeeds everywhere Glass failed.

1. Sunglasses, by definition, are different.

You wear glasses all day, all the time. They’re always present -- and in your way.

You wear sunglasses when you’re out and about. You wear sunglasses when you’re being active. Coincidentally, these are the times you’re likely to be taking videos (and snapchats) already.

This is a perfect example of designing for human behavior, rather than trying to reinvent it.

2. The camera lights up to tell people when you’re recording.

One of the biggest problems with Google Glass was the glasses were creepy. No one could tell when someone was taking a video or recording. And Google already had a bit of a rep for being Big Brother. Not a good combination.

Spectacles light up when you’re taking a video to make it as obvious as possible. And they’ve been quick to highlight that.

3. They look cool.

One of the biggest problems with wearables so far has been that they just don’t look good. The tech world is now intruding into the fashion world, and they’ve been slow to realize it. Google has always had a geeky brand, and that works for them in so many ways. But it doesn’t work when you’re designing fashion items.

Spectacles on the other hand, look… cool. Weird? Totally. But in a high fashion kind of way.

Photo blatantly stolen from the Spectacles website.

Just look at the product photography on their site. Fashion models, studio lighting, bold colors. Every piece fits and feels… fashionable.

Photo blatantly stolen from the Spectacles website.

4. They do one thing.

Spectacles aren’t smart glasses. You can’t talk to Google, you can’t get directions, you can take 10 second video clips. And shade your eyes from the sun. That’s it.

Doing one thing really well will always trump doing a bunch of things poorly.

5. The price point is, well, on point.

When they came out, Google Glass cost over $1,000. That put them well outside of most people’s price points. Premium pricing can work, but not on dorky-looking beta products.

Spectacles will cost $130. Interestingly, that’s almost exactly what a new pair of Ray Bans costs.

6. Snapchat knows social.

Google has always struggled with social. Google had to force Google Plus to be semi-successful. They have tried over and over again and still struggle with social. It’s incredibly hard to do well.

Call it dumb luck, or call it genius, but Snapchat was social from the start. Snapchat has been slowly making smart move after smart move. And far from going away, they’ve continued to build their audience.

That’s a pretty powerful thing when you’re launching an edgy, innovative new product.

7. Snapchat is the embodiment of the middle finger emoji.

When Snapchat first came out, like many I said, “This is stupid. This is going to last a month tops, and it will never take off.”

When Snapchat turned down billion dollar acquisition offers, like many I said, “They’re stupid. They’re going to run out of money and wish they’d taken the offer.”

Spectacles aren’t Google Glass. They’re GoPro. Notice the new description on the Snap Inc. website.

Why Snapchat's New Spectacles Will Succeed Where Google Glass Failed.

But whereas GoPro is currently scrambling to make it easier for users to share their content, Snapchat has the most successful social video platform ever. It’s a perfect fit.

I’m done betting against Snapchat. Somehow they’ve taken a silly sexting app and turned it into a truly innovative company. I’m far from the first to say it. But watchout. Snap Inc. is coming.

Andrew Askins

Andrew is our fearless leader. He writes about business, culture, front end dev and our 5% referral fee here at Krit. If you want to chat about startups, MMA or Rocket League you can hit him up on Twitter. It would make his day if you would leave a comment and/or sign up for our newsletter.