Why Snapchat's New Spectacles Will Succeed Where Google Glass Failed.
September 27, 2016
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…
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.