Google’s slow rollout of Google Glass, not to mention one big technical challenge, means it’ll be years before the device is available publicly in Europe.
That’s what two reports are saying after Google hosted a show-and-tell about Glass in Brussels on Monday. The company began a series of meetings with lawmakers and journalists, letting them see and use Glass for themselves.
The Wall Street Journal describes Monday’s event as being off-the-record, meaning journalists weren’t allowed to directly quote Google officials. But that report begins by saying that
Google Glass is years away from hitting the European market…
Likewise, a similar event recap on the European news site EurActiv repeats the same timetable without directly quoting Google:
… the device remains several years from market launch amidst ongoing privacy concerns.
Indeed, there are privacy concerns about Glass in Europe (as elsewhere); UK officials have already discussed banning Glass while driving. As I’ve written before here on Marketing Land, many of the Google Glass privacy concerns are overblown. But Google has to deal with them, and the varying privacy standards and bodies across the continent may slow that process down substantially.
But it’s not just about privacy. The WSJ goes on to say that there’s a big technical issue that will delay Glass’ availability in Europe: voice recognition.
In the U.S., some 12,000 “explorers” are currently allowed to see the world through Glass. No such program exists, or is currently planned, for Europe — partly because the device’s American-English voice-recognition software has trouble with foreign accents.
On the record, a Google spokesperson wouldn’t specifically answer if it’ll be years before Glass reaches Europe:
It’s simply too early to say when Glass will come to Europe. Right now, we’re focused on growing our Explorer program in the US ahead of a wider consumer launch in the US next year.
Glass may not reach Europe for a while, but Google’s road show goes on. The WSJ says similar show-and-tells are planned this week in Cologne (Germany) and Paris.