Google Inc was found by Larry Page and Sergey Brin while they were pursuing their PhD in Stanford University. Google was incorporated on September 4, 1998. Google founders were in the verge to sell its search engine company to Excite CEO George Bell for $ 1 million to continue their doctoral studies. It was unfortunate that George declined the offer, later the company was supported by many venture capitalist companies and Google generated $25 million as the initial investment. After this fund generation Larry Page, Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt (Executive Chairman) agreed to work together till 2024. Google – a software giant has acquired 125 companies to lead in the software industry.  Search engine giants didn’t just stop with their website google.com , they moved forward by strengthening their company by innovating products in their lab “Google X”. Till now, people don’t know where the lab is located and what they do in the lab. It’s expected that it is located somewhere near Bay Area of North Carolina. Even the team Google X has amazed mobile device makers with Google Nexus mobile phone. Even they are challenging the automakers with their Driverless concept car research. In the recent news Google X lab is set to release a new product that is going to change the way we look at the world and that product is named as “Google Glass”.

Google Glass

Google glass is a product that came into reality with the help of Professor Babak Praviz (Head, Google glass research). With hard efforts of prototype designer Tom Chi, glass prototype was ready just in a day. Tom Chi has explained how to do rapid prototyping in TED Youth Conference. Google glass is a head mounted display augmented reality product that looks similar to our spectacles without lenses. Yet, the glass has a camera and a small projector to show the display in front of our eye. This innovation may pose a threat for the smart phones those are available in the market.

Even before the release, the product was welcomed by many people since this device is the smallest head mounted display device available in the market. Google tested the device among few handpicked customers who participated in the contest conducted by Google in Twitter platform. Bold, Creative and Tech enthusiast will have to say what they will do if they have Google glass with them by featuring hashtag #ifihadglass on twitter to get the developer version of Google glass at USD 1500. There were around 2000 people who were interested to buy this product even without knowing the delivery date. Only a few people got the product in their hands to discover the features. Google glass very soon became the talk of the town by April 2012 and it is set to release by Q4 of 2013.  This glass is yet to hit the market but there is mixed comments about it.

Most splendid function of this product is the user will be able to take pictures, videos, text, and share them on internet instantly. Google glass can take videos at 720p clarity supported by a touch interface on the right side of the device. Hardware components of Google glass impressed many people since it has Android 4.0.4 and higher, 5 mega pixel camera, Wi-Fi, Blue tooth, 16 GB Storage, 682 MB RAM, Gyroscope, Accelerometer and Magnetometer. The device is also supported by software such as Google Maps, Google +, Voice actions/commands, Gmail, Google Now, and many more other applications.

Some bloggers who used the product have told that the product did not meet their expectations. The major problem with the product is, it is not able to recognize voice clearly in a crowded area. The data stored in this device is following a timeline pattern which pose a problem while a user try to retrieve information.  The applications sometimes load updates for every 10 seconds which makes the user irritated at times. Google glass was banned in pubs, movie theatres and casinos. The Government of West Virginia is seeking a ban on Google glass to prevent people from texting while driving. Many countries contributed to the pain of Google by saying that the product may breach privacy and help in stealing private information effortlessly.

Despite all these happenings, Google is all set to release its product by the end of 2013. Marketing managers are in confusion to set the price for the product. People expect the product to be released at the rate of USD200, yet grapevine message from Google say the product will be priced at the range of USD500 – USD600. Marketing managers at Google are worrying about the distribution strategy because one of the C-Level executive had advised them to follow Apple retail chain format to boost the sales. In his view, the company is now moving towards producing more products for the customers hence he feels the customers should get products from their own retail stores. The terms and conditions laid by Google have put the customers in a confused state, since Google Glass terms of service states, “you may not resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person. If you resell, loan, transfer, or give your device to any other person without Google’s authorization, Google reserves the right to deactivate the device, and neither you nor the unauthorized person using the device will be entitled to any refund, product support, or product warranty.”

Points to ponder:-

1)      Whether Google can release the product into mass market? If so, which segment should they target to generate more revenue?

2)       How can Google tackle the negative reviews that emerged even before release of the product?

3)       State your view on C-Level executive decision on the distribution strategy.

4)       State your view on pricing of Google Glass. Suggest measures that Google should take to promote the product.

5)       Terms of service laid by Google for the product “Google Glass” is not customer centric. Give your views on this statement.

This case was prepared on 23rd May 2013, now Google glass was released and it’s priced at $1500. The case is prepared with the help of many articles written in many websites, and the last paragraph of the case which talks about “Marketing Channel – Retail outlet like Apple” is a fictional addition to the case to make it interesting for the discussion.

IMAGE CREDIT: http://www.dispatch.com/content/graphics/2014/01/21/google-glass.jpg

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The content is purely prepared for educational use. It’s not prepared to create any bad impression against the organization.

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