Tesco backs faltering Google Glass amid public scepticism

Google Glass may be temporarily off the shelves, but Tesco will continue to develop for the hardware as it explores the potential of wearables for grocery shopping.

Tesco: still backing Google Glass
Tesco: still backing Google Glass

Tesco this week became the first British retailer to release an app for Google Glass, called Tesco Groceries.

A spokeswoman for Tesco told Marketing that the retailer would continue experimenting with the device, despite Google halting sales as it works out a development strategy.  

Google is actually looking to take the current design further, and look at future concepts - that’s a positive signal for the future of Glass

She said: "Google is actually looking to take the current design further, and look at future concepts. That’s a positive signal for the future of Glass."

She added: "Our launch on Glass is not a channel based on revenue, it’s a journey [to find] what wearables could mean if they go mainstream.

"We would be in an advantageous position to offer customers use of that technology if they wished. Our experiments will help us offer a service and a good user journey if that’s where it ends up."

Google Glass not doomed

Google has decided to shake up the Glass project, spinning it into a new division and halting its two-year ‘Explorer’ programme. That means individuals in the US and UK will no longer be able to buy the $1,500 (£990) headset.

That doesn’t necessarily spell the end for Glass, since Google has partly halted sales to develop a new device. The new division will be led by current Google Glass chief, Ivy Ross, who will report to Tony Fadell, the man who conceived Apple’s iPod and founded smart home firm Nest. That suggests Google is taking a cue from Apple, with a focus on perfecting product development.

British consumers are unlikely to be shopping for milk through Google Glass in the immediate future, however, with many sceptical about the benefits of smart glasses.

A new survey from Clicked Research, seen by Marketing, found consumers were least interested in smartglasses compared with other wearables such as smartwatches, fitness bracelets and sports watches.   

Clicked asked 1,000 respondents to rate their enthusiasm and attitudes for the different devices. For the most part, consumers were not interested in owning any smart device, with 7% keen on smartglasses, versus 10% for smartwatches. 

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