All posts by 383790dr

The glass was cracked, not broken

Google Glass is back

Customer value

Advances in wearable computing are affecting both the consumer and business space. Where wearable computing used to be science fiction territory, devices are now reaching the mass market for consumption, with the Google Glass being the most high-profile example: a pair of glasses augmented with a small display and a tiny computer with wireless networking and GPS functionality. At its core, it is just a tiny mobile computer with novel display technologies and user interfaces. This might seem unimpressive, but what is impressive is that the Glass puts the display directly in the user’s field of view and creates a user interface based on voice, gestures and taps of the glasses’ frame. (Gray, 2013) 


The challenge with these wearable gadgets is to find a value proposition. Smart glasses need to add to the reasons people put glasses on their face. When the Glass was released, Google hoped that the early adopters would flesh out the value proposition, but the biggest challenge turned out to be the form factor of the Glass: many people do not enjoy wearing glasses. Given this behavioural observation, the value proposition to keep the Glass on your face had to be a good one. (Benbajarin, 2013)

Business model

The business model is an ecosystem platform and like all platforms, it uses an army of developers trying to create new value-adding apps. (Dashevsky & Hachman, 2014) Partners that built apps for the Glass ecosystem included Twitter, Facebook, CNN and Elle (Gaudin, 2013). Actually, Google did not really know what to do with the Glass, which is why they built a developer program first, attempting to use the wisdom of the crowd. (Shaughnessy, 2013)

Let’s have a look at the components. It all started with a product idea. The next step was validation. Through a crowdsourced competition, Google tried to find out what the Glass could be used for. The third step was rapid evaluation of the ideas. Next, the ecosystem was formed and developers were selected to line up in the ecosystem. The fifth step was financing and acquiring funds. The last component was the proposal of a tentative launch date of the Glass and improving, or iterating, the design with customer feedback.

Reflecting on this business model, it is obvious that Google’s own investments were relatively low, even after the invention phase was over. The developers were the ones bearing the costs. Therefore the main risk for Google was not a financial risk, but a reputational one: the risk of not getting the product right and having to close the project. (Shaughnessy, 2013)

Institutional environment

 Shortly after its launch, people began to fret about the social implications. Two questions dominated the debate: (1) Is the video component of the Glass a threat to our privacy? (2) Will people be able to concentrate on what is in front of them when they get distracted by the internet all the time?


The problem is that people cannot consent to filming or being filmed by the Glass. With the Glass, Google is able to compute what a user is seeing and the idea that you can become part of someone else’s data collection was quite alarming to many. (Arthur, 2013)

“With a phone, the person I am taking a picture of will notice me; with the Glass nobody knows whether or not they are being watched, no matter what they are doing.” (Arthur, 2013; Klepic, 2014)

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ISO) warned about the use of wearables and the resulting chances on breaches of the Data Protection Act. The Glass’ wide scope for data collection led to more chances for breaking UK law than any other device. (Fox-Brewster, 2014) Should movie theatres, concert venues and casinos try to ban the Glass? And how are corporations going to stop employees from photographing confidential trade documents? (Klepic, 2014) Banning or restricting the Glass was also a major issue for restaurants, hospitals, sports grounds and banks (Gray R. , 2013)


The second debate evolved around the question: Will people will able to concentrate on what is in front of them when they get distracted by the internet all the time? This legal question was about the safety of using the Glass in traffic. The Glass is supposed to stop people from looking at their phones, but people are fundamentally incapable of looking away from what they are doing for a few seconds without losing their concentration. If texting and calling while driving is illegal, how could constantly incoming notifications that are only an eye movement away be legal? (Klepic, 2014)

Why the glass broke

In January 2015 Google stopped selling the Glass, that was made available as an early prototype to fans and journalists in 2013. As described in the section “Business model” Google wanted to release the Glass to the public so customers could provide feedback that Google X could use to improve the design. (Colt, 2015) However, Glass Explorers treated it like a finished product, despite everyone at Google X knowing that the Glass was still a prototype with major functionality errors to be solved. (Bilton, 2015)

The section “Customer value” already described that it would be difficult to create customer value. Google advertised the Glass in terms of experience augmentation, while in reality, no one was comfortable with wearing the camera on their face in the way of normal social interaction. (Weidner, sd) The Glass failed to be  “cool”. Google desperately tried to make the Glass seem cool by putting it on models during Fashion Week, in fashion advertorials and in the hands of fashion influencers, eventually reinforcing that the Glass was not cool. This is a typical case of a post-modern marketing failure. (Haque, 2015)

The best explanation for why the Glass failed is that it entered the wrong market. The Glass could be a transformational tool for professionals, like truck drivers, train conductors, machine operators, police or airplane pilots. The problem is that Google did not target these professional and B2B audiences. Instead, they targeted journalists and celebrities. (Monetizing Innovation, 2016)

Raise the glass “The Glass is back”

Alphabet reintroduced the Glass to the world. It officially ended its initial ambition to make the Glass a consumer device, because of privacy concerns and because of the fact that the Glass simply looked unfashionable. Finally, the potential for use in business, as a tool for training, has been acknowledged. (Tsukayama, 2017) The Glass is now advertised as an enterprise focused device aimed at the healthcare, manufacturing and energy industry. Despite the first consumer preview being unsuccessful, it did reveal the potential of using the Glass in these specific institutional contexts. (Hern, 2015)


Arthur, C. (2013, March 6). Google Glass: is it a threat to our privacy? The Guardian:

Benbajarin, B. (2013, September 16). Wearable Gadgets: In Search of a Value Proposition. Time:

Bilton, N. (2015, February 4). Why Google Glass Broke. New York Times:

Colt, S. (2015, February 4). Google knew Glass ‘wasn’t even close to ready,’ but Sergey Brin pushed it out. Business Insider:

Dashevsky, E., & Hachman, M. (2014, April 15). 16 Cool Things You Can Do With Google Glass. PCMag:

Fox-Brewster, T. (2014, June 30). The Many Ways Google Glass Users Risk Breaking British Privacy Laws. Forbes | Security :

Gaudin, S. (2013, May 16). Google Glass ecosystem grows with Twitter, Facebook and CNN apps. Computerworld:–facebook-and-cnn-apps.html

Gray, P. (2013, May 14). The business value of Google Glass and wearable computing. Techrepublic:

Gray, R. (2013, December 4). The places where Google Glass is banned. The Telegraph:

Haque, U. (2015, January 30). Google Glass Failed Because It Just Wasn’t Cool. Harvard Business Review:

Hern, A. (2015, July 31). Google Glass is back! But now it’s for businesses? The Guardian:

Klepic, J. (2014, January 23). People Aren’t Seeing the Legal Problems Ahead With Google Glass. Huffington Post:

Monetizing Innovation. (2016, April 28). The reason Google Glass failed that no one is talking about. Monetizing innovation:

Shaughnessy, H. (2013, May 3). Google’s Innovative New Business Model For Google Glass. Forbes | Tech:

Tsukayama, H. (2017, July 18). Remember Google Glass? It’s back and ready for work. The Washington Post:

Weidner, J. (sd). How & Why Google Glass Failed. Investopedia:

From e-commerce to social commerce

A matter of trust

The advancement of Web 2.0 social networks brought new developments to e-commerce. In recent years, e-commerce has transformed to social commerce. Social commerce is a new stream and subset of traditional e-commerce, which combines e-commerce with Web 2.0 social networks.

Social commerce, trust & buying intention

Thanks to social networks consumers can now communicate, rate other products, review others’ opinions, participate in forums, share their experiences and recommend products and services. By bringing the features of Web 2.0 social networks to e-commerce, consumers can support each other in the acquisition of products and services in an online context. This results in more customer-oriented business models where customers can share knowledge, experiences and information about their products and services.

Social commerce has three main constructs that empower customers and increase the sociability of e-commerce:

  • Forums and communities: Online discussion sites that support information sharing;
  • Ratings and reviews: Provide comprehensive information about a product for potential customers;
  • Referrals and recommendations: Unlike brick and mortar stores, in online stores it is not possible to interact with staff, so customers rely more on other customers’ recommendations.

Trust is a central issue in e-commerce. Social commerce has helped to establish more trust in e-commerce platforms. Customers experience higher levels of trust as they can support each other through information exchange. This is because interactions and interconnectivity reduce the perceived risk in online transactions. Reviews, ratings and recommendations can indicate the trustworthiness of an online seller as customers consider reviews from other customers to be more reliable than information from a commercial website.

Hajli (2015) found that the three social commerce constructs significantly positively influence the user’s intention to buy. Trust appeared to be a mediating variable. Social commerce constructs have a positive effect on user’s trust, which in turn positively influences the intention to buy (Figure 1). To arrive at these findings, Hajli (2015) conducted a survey study with four constructs: intention to buy, social commerce constructs, perceived usefulness and trust. A five point Likert-scale was used in the questionnaire. Data was collected at universities in the UK. The final sample consisted of 243 completed and usable questionnaires. Next, Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) was used for data analysis. The hypotheses were tested with the Partial Least Squares (PLS) method. The findings underline that social commerce constructs, like customer reviews, are more likely to increase trust, and in turn increase customers’ intention to buy.

ccdc blog 1 media 2

Amazon customer reviews

From a practical perspective, this study encourages online businesses to make a plan for reviews and to manage social networks effectively as it significantly impacts customers’ purchasing decisions. It recommends them to engage with their customers through reviews to develop trust. Other research indeed shows that 91 percent of customers read online reviews and that 84 percent trusts online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (Bloem, 2017) In practice, this implies that not offering customer reviews is similar to ignoring 84 percent of your buying population by not giving them the information they want to support them in their buying decision (DeMers, 2015).

To illustrate, Amazon optimised its business model based on customer reviews and ratings. Customer reviews are one of the most important ranking factors in Amazon’s A9 algorithm. It ranks product search results based on the positivity of customer reviews and rating. (Grosman, 2017)

Fake review problem

A weakness in the study of Hajli (2015) is that it does not consider that information related to the identity of the reviewers influences the perceived trustworthiness of a review.  The paper simply finds that more reviews increases trust, which in turn increases the buying intention.  However, in reality, it might not be that straight forward anymore with the rise of fake product reviews. Nowadays, it is hard for customers to decide which reviews to trust. There is looming crisis of confidence in online product reviews, which used to be a key factor in customers’ buying decision. (Silverman, 2017) As customers cannot trust reviews anymore, it can be questioned whether the positive relation between the number of reviews, trust and buying decision still holds.

Increasingly, customers pay careful attention to reviews, e.g. looking for reviews with a Verified Purchase tag. Nearly 66.3 percent of Amazon reviews are five-star ratings, which is highly unrealistic. Reviews on Amazon are a key factor when making a purchasing decision and without reviews it is difficult for online retailers to gain sales. In an attempt to boost sales, retailers offer reviewers free or discounted samples in return for a positive customer review. So, it is no surprise that 96 percent of paid reviews on Amazon is rated four- or five-star.  (Cipriani, 2016)

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Source credibility

Many authors have investigated the positive impact of online reviews on sales of products and services. However, given the importance of source credibility, I believe more research is needed on trustworthiness of reviewers as an important construct. The source credibility theory explains how a recommendation persuasiveness is affected by the perceived credibility of its source. Actually, customers accept reviews depending on the perceived trustworthiness of the reviewer, which consequently impacts the buying decision. Reviewer trustworthiness is therefore an important moderating variable that positively moderates the impact of review-based online reputation. (Banerjee, Bhattacharyya, & Bose, 2017)

Concluding, instead of solely increasing the number of (positive) customer reviews, online retailers should also build a good review-based online reputation that encourages and identifies top trustworthy reviewers and that ranks reviews based on reviewer trustworthiness.

This post was inspired by: Hajli, N. (2015). Social commerce constructs and consumer’s intention to buy. International Journal of Information Management, 183-191


Banerjee, S., Bhattacharyya, S., & Bose, I. (2017). Whose online reviews to trust? Understanding reviewer trustworthiness. Decision Support Systems, 17-26.

Bloem, C. (2017, July 31). 84 Percent of People Trust Online Reviews As Much As Friends. Here’s How to Manage What They See. Opgehaald van Inc.:

Cipriani, J. (2016, March 14). Why You Shouldn’t Trust All Amazon Reviews. Opgehaald van Fortune:

DeMers, J. (2015, December 28). How Important Are Customer Reviews For Online Marketing? Opgehaald van Forbes:

Grosman, L. (2017, February 28). Five Tips To Improve Your Ranking On Amazon. Opgehaald van Forbes:

Hajli, N. (2015). Social commerce constructs and consumer’s intention to buy. International Journal of Information Management, 183-191.

Silverman, D. (2017, April 20). A Matter of Trust: Amazon Declares War on Fake Product Reviews. Opgehaald van Clavis Insight: