Google Glass might have piqued the interest of techies across the world, but unfortunately the company shelved any plans for future development last year.
Luke McKend, country manager for Google South Africa, admitted at Telkom’s annual SATNAC conference that while the hyperconnected wearable wouldn’t see release, some valuable lessons were learnt ahead of it being shelved.
McKend hinted again that one of the possible problems with Glass could have been its size and how it was worn. Many people who got their hands on developer versions complained that the glasses were fairly bulky and to a degree somewhat heavy.
“I’m not so sure that we want to walk around with something so bulky, but perhaps it is going to result into something that you wear on your wrist,” he said.
McKend sounded sceptical that Google would revisit the same design as the previous version – if there is ever to be another Google Glass.
“A lot of the valuable lessons that we learnt from Google Glass were translated into how you interact with a device on your wrist. So there might be unanticipated consequences (by releasing a product) – I’m not quiet sure we know what the form factor is going to be yet,” he said.
But he was quick to add that a lot can change between the development cycles, as new technology in the future will make things a bit easier.
“There is so much that we do now that looks like science fiction, and you think that perhaps that is never going to happen,” said McKend. “We now live in an era where science fiction is becoming a reality. And to that point of re-imagining, it is quiet possible that it was just one point (in Google Glass’s life) in re-imagining virtual reality.”
During a Q&A session, McKend was asked about Google’s plans to bring Google Fibre to South Africa, since fibre installations in South Africa are booming at the moment.
While he didn’t say that it would be coming to SA any time soon, he didn’t dismiss it outright either.
“Where we are really focused is where we feel the need is greatest. Despite some of the contrary views, there is actually a fair amount of competition in South Africa and in some of the other countries that we are involved in, so we have focused our attentions elsewhere,” he said.
South Africa might have been snubbed to some degree, but some countries in Africa are at least getting some love – which ties in with McKend’s statement that Google will go where the need is greatest.
Two countries have already reaped the rewards of Google’s fibre internet efforts, as Ghana and Uganda seen Google laying the fibre and digging the trenches there. The reason why Google has been developing the infrastructure there, is that it doesn’t want to have three or four operators all competing to dig the same trench.
“So if we can create a shared infrastructure model which we lease to operators and anybody else for that matter… That is a much more efficient model for us to deploy in emerging markets and in Africa.”
To date, McKend detailed, almost 1 000km of fibre connections have already been put into the ground in the two countries.