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The Glass is dead: Google's five biggest duds

Google Glass as we know it is dead. On Thursday, Google announced that it won't sell the much-ridiculed smart glasses anymore and would no longer develop them in Google X, the company's division responsible for moonshots like Project Loon and self-driving cars.

gadgets Updated: Jan 19, 2015 15:18 IST
Siladitya Ray

Google Glass as we know it is dead. On Thursday, Google announced that it won't sell the much-ridiculed smart glasses anymore and would no longer develop them in Google X, the company's division responsible for moonshots like Project Loon and self-driving cars.

Google Glass was once touted as the pioneering device of the wearable computing revolution so Google's U-turn is a big deal. But its hardly the first time that company has screwed up.

Here are five other hyped Google products that failed to make an impact.


1. Google Wave : Wave was supposed to herald the arrival of email 2.0 but it ended up being Google's biggest and most high-profile failure. A collection of unnecessary features bundled together in often bewildering ways, Google Wave tried to be everything to everyone in terms of content sharing. It was way too cumbersome to use either as an email service or as a form of social media.

2. Google TV : Google dominated two screens (the phone and the PC) in most households so it wanted to make a play for the biggest screen in the house with Google TV. Google partnered with the likes of Sony and Logitech to launch a line of smart TVs and set-top boxes -- something the market was not quite craving for. Google's Play (pun intended) for the living room was a failure primarily due to the lack of content and the poor user interface. Google is now looking to redeem itself with the release of Android TV.

3. Google Video : There was a time when Google was not the overlord of web video and YouTube was just another rival it wanted to steamroll. Google Video attempted to conquer this domain using an elegant and lean interface and whipsmart programming. But the world looking for an another video service with YouTube hitting it's stride. Google Video was simply dead on arrival. Google eventually bought YouTube anyway, to the tune of $1.65 billion in stock. So it all eventually worked out for the people in Mountain View.

4. Google Buzz : Buzz was shoved down Gmail users' throats in 2010 whether they liked it or not. You could opt out, sure, but everyone was in by default. Buzz tried to exploit people's Gmail contacts to create a half-baked social network right within their Gmail and in doing so, exposed people's contacts and even location to the world at large. Google said that Buzz would "help bridge the gap between work and leisure," but all it ended up being was a confused mess

5. Google Answers : Google answers most of your questions on the fly, so Answers really was kind of redundant. It limped along in 2006 till Google finally got rid of it. These days, Quora and Yahoo! Answers are the platforms where you can get most questions answered by real people. Quora is amazing, but when was the last time you actually got a useful answer on Yahoo! Answers?

Honourable mention - Google Plus: Plus is not really a "failure" -- any service that has 540 million users can't be. But Google's decision to bake Google+ into all its services has a lot to do with that number. As a social media platform, Plus is nowhere near being the "Facebook killer" is was pegged to be at launch.