History of the Company
Google is a multinational corporation established in America that specializes in Internet-related services and products. They deal with cloud computing, search, online advertising and software technologies. Its head office is in Mountain View, California. The company was established by Sergey Brin and Larry Page, in 1996. They started it when they were doctorate students at Stanford University. Initially, it was called BackRub. Incorporation started working on September 4, 1998, and it offered its initial public offering (NASDAQ) on August 19, 2004 (Scott, 2008). It has at about 12,000 employees. Its mission statement entails organizing all the information in the world and making it accessible and useful globally. The corporation has more than seventy offices in forty countries worldwide. Some of the corporation’s objectives include:
- Ensuring that their tools run everywhere in the world.
- Pushing their content and communities.
- Being the best in search.
- Acquiring improved infrastructure in order to improve the productivity of their employees.
Google produces multiple products and services associated with technology. Google Glass is their recent development and it is going to be released in 2015. Google Glass are glasses, which display a see through screen in the line of sight of the user, and it allows the user to have access to applications, record videos and get directions without using their hands (Furlan, 2013).
The product is made of different materials. It has a plastic backed titanium band that forms the frame. Its frame is a single piece and it grows thick on the edges and thin in the middle. The device has two nose grippers also made of titanium, which have silicon pads in the end and are replaceable. It has two plastic housings, one that rests behind the user’s ear and contains the speaker and a battery. The second housing is positioned on the front side of the user’s face around the eye area and it contains a display assembly, a camera and a processor. The side of the part on the front is touch-sensitive and it forms a slender trackpad. Google Glass has a TI OMAP 4430 processor, 1 GB RAM and 16 GB storage space (Furlan, 2013). A micro-USB port is available and it can be used to retrieve data from the Google Glass and also charge it. However, the device has been set to store most of the data in the user’s Google+ account. Although, the battery size is not clear, it has limited battery life if the user uses most of the product’s functions on average, which include taking pictures, short videos and reading e-mails.
The product functions with a Bluetooth data connection from any device or Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g). Therefore, the device functions independently without the use of mobile phones or another device. The device has a transparent display that one can barely notice when wearing it. The display was developed to enable the user see though the image floating in space. According to Google, the display gives an image equivalent to a 25” high definition screen from 8 ft. away. Although the specifications about the resolution are not very clear, according to the Google Glass project, the developers were supposed to work with an array of 640 ? 360 pixels. Setting up the device requires the installation of the MYGlass application on a mobile phone (Furlan, 2013). The application requires the use of smartphone that has an operating system, not below Android 4.0.3. After a few configurations, the device gets connected to the users’ Google account. When users wears the device, they can activate it either by tilting the head up or tapping the touch pad on the side. The device also has a voice command application, and, therefore, the user can operate it using voice commands.
The user can be able to capture images either by using voice commands or tapping the shutter release button. When taking a video, the user has to hold the button down for longer time. The device takes ten seconds videos by default, but one can set it to take longer videos. The gadget also enables the user to view the photographs and videos, and one can also share them on Google+, and even delete them. The device also has the Google Now application. One can identify a few things about their current position automatically. For example, the device displays the weather, as it displays an icon that shows the current weather and the temperature (Furlan, 2013). Additionally, after asking for directions from point A to B, once at B, Google Now automatically suggests how to get back to A. The device has a navigation feature where the user can speak an address or tap on suggestions to get turn by turn direction. If one has the MyGlass application on their mobile phone, one can retrieve the directions from the phone to the Google Glass. The spoken directions are sent to the speaker situated next to the ear.
The device enables the user to read messages or emails and it has an alert when there is a new message received. It also allows one to read the text message or e-mail. One can respond to the message through voice commands. Through the use of Google Glass, user can also search multiple things on Google. One can also make video calls, using the Google Glass. However, only the users of the gadget will see the person calling them, but the other person cannot see them. The device has a 5 megapixel camera that is capable of recording 720p video (Furlan, 2013). It is also able to capture high quality pictures.
Google uses a mass marketing approach, as most of its products are related to technology and are not expensive. In addition, the products are usually high end and are offered at affordable prices and as a result, many people can afford them. The customer base for the Google Glasses will be global. Every place where Google products have customers will be a target market for the Google Glass. With the recent acquisition of Motorola, Google can increase its fortunes and venture into new markets. Previously, Google has made fortunes in the software market, but Google Glass offers the company to define an entirely new market segment. Considering other technological products, such as, the iPad, Google Glass provides similar potential.
The market has had smart glasses before and due to their high prices, poor user interfaces and limited functionality, they have remained niche products. The Google Glass is also expected to be expensive; hence not everyone will afford them. Compared to other mass market Google products, such as the Chromecast, the Google Glass targets a slightly higher end market niche. According to the limited initial offer of the product in 2013, the product cost $1,500, but upon its release to the public, it is expected to cost about $600. Therefore, the gadget will be slightly cheaper, but not affordable to every person. Additionally, the technological aspect of the device targets technology fans, who would like to experience the use of the device, first hand. Google Glass will benefit the market as it will enable easy Internet access. It will provide hands free method of taking pictures, accessing useful applications, recording videos and communicating. It will also help in fulfilling the global technology market needs through its utilization of translation tools, which translate signs and voices in a foreign language onto the screen.
The demographics of the individuals who may buy Google Glass includes: the upper and middle class people living in the developed countries. The device attracts males aged between 16 and 30 years, who work in the field dealing with technology related issues or those who have an interest in computers. Individuals who focus a lot on fashion may tend not to buy the product as it is thought to be less fashionable. In addition, the people who have the interest to keep up with new technology and those who have disposable income are likely to buy the product.
Google faces competition from several other products by other companies. The primary competitor that the product will face once it is released to the public is a product by Lumus, an Israeli company. In addition, the Google also faces competition from Meta, another technology company, which is developing a computerized headwear, called SpaceGlasses. Other companies are said to be planning about developing and unveiling their smart glasses, including Samsung’s Galaxy Glass, and Sony’s SmartEyeglass. However, the information is not yet official, although there is a possibility of such devices production by the big technology companies. The product also faces secondary competition from other technological devices, such as the smartphones and tablets.
The main competitor of Google Glass is Lumus, a technology company, founded in 2000 by Dr. Yaakov Amitai. The company has its headquarters in 2 Bergman Street, Rehovot 76705, Israel. The company creates ultra-thin see through lenses, which display large, high quality images and are designed as eyeglasses (Bowen, 2014). They have a natural eyeglass appearance. The company was founded in the LOE (light-guide optical element) technology. The LOE technology breaks all the perceived laws of physics, which have previously prevented personal displays from being translucent, lightweight, inexpensive, compact, normal looking and offering an opportunity to an extensive variety of applications. The company is using the cutting-edge LOE technology in providing a new dimension to the visual experience of human beings. Lumus eyeglasses provide the user with a super large screen wherever they are and look. The eyeglasses offer video content and generate simultaneous connectivity to what the users need and want to see. The company trades its Optical Engine Modules, under some agreements with various leading consumer electronics manufacturers. Such manufacturers then market products, which are integrated with Lumus know-how and technology (Bowen, 2014). It has enabled the company to penetrate a wide range of markets and applications.
In July 2013, the company began developing a new eyewear product known as DK-40, which has been considered more as a consumers’ product unlike their previous products, which are military grade eyewear. The DK-40 is an eyewear powered by android and its features include a motion sensor, 5 megapixel camera and more sleek design than previous products manufactured by the company. However, the product is still at its developmental stage. Although there are no financial records currently available, Lumus is the only company that is selling smart glasses, therefore, they currently have the entire market share. However, the products are not very popular and are sold in small quantities. The company is currently offering the DK-30 and DK-40 model of eyewear, and both models allow users to stream videos, play video games and view e-mails and text messages (Bowen, 2014). The professional product by Lumus is the PD-18 model.
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The target market for the PD-18 eyewear model is the air force officials and pilots. It is especially due to its ideal nature for mounting on pilot headgear. It enables overlaying vital information into the pilot’s line of sight, while the pilot is maintaining vital situational awareness. However, Lumus conducts little or no promotional or advertising efforts for their products and services. Nonetheless, they operate a professional website that contains abundant information regarding their products and company. They argue that they do not offer sales or coupons as their products contain cutting edge technology and are new. The company’s products target both the average consumer and the professionals. The DK-38 and DK-40 models have their target at average consumers, while the PD-18 model is created with a target at the professionals, including pilots and air force officials (Bowen, 2014). However, the company claims that they do not sell their products directly to individuals; however, they sell to large chains.
Once Google Glass will be launched for public consumption, it will be a major competitor to Lumus products. Google Glass offers similar features to Lumus eyewear, including video streaming, e-mailing and messaging. Lumus has its strength on the cutting edge LOE technology that it uses, hence it faces little competition. Lumus can use the launching of Google Glass as an opportunity. Google has done significant product promotion and advertisement, which has made this model of eyewear known. Lumus will have the opportunity to capitalize on the weaknesses of Google Glass, both in the product design and prices, hence enabling it to take a portion of Google’s market share. The weakness that the company faces is that it is not well-known. They should invest in product promotion and advertising. Additionally, they do not sell their products to individuals, hence limiting their customer base. The threats that the company faces include possible eye damage in the long run for Lumus’ eyewear users. Additionally, Google provides a competition threat to Lumus, as it is well-known globally.
Google Glass faces secondary competition from SpaceGlasses, a product of Meta, a technological company. Meta is creating a computerized headwear that will be able to overlay interactive three-dimensional content onto the real world. Although the SpaceGlasses are bulkier than Google Glass, Meta is developing their product into a light pair of normal-looking glasses. The product includes a see-through projectable liquid-crystal display (LCD) for each eye, standard color camera, compass, gyroscope, accelerometer and an infrared depth camera (Meta, 2014). Although SpaceGlasses may possess more technologically advanced technology, Meta lacks substantial market power and influence, or the disposable income available to Google. Meta is funded by donations and it is not well-known globally. There is a possibility that Meta would easily lose its funding and eventually rendering it unable to compete with Google. Therefore, SpaceGlasses poses a very minor threat to Google Glass.
The main functions of Google Glass include accessing the Internet, taking videos and pictures and sharing them, navigation and receiving and replying to text messages and e-mails. The same functions are done by tablets, smartphones, smart watches and laptops. Different companies, including Google, have their smartphones, tablets and laptops in the market. These gadgets act as secondary competitors to the Google Glass. Mainly, the Google Glass comes to take up most of their uses. Additionally, the smart watches, for example, Samsung’s Gear, are also secondary competitors. However, the Gear is a complementary appliance to the Samsung Galaxy smartphones. It cannot operate on its own. However, Google Glass can operate in isolation and independently; therefore, one does not need to carry their smartphone so that to use the Google Glass. As a result, Galaxy Gear does not pose a great threat, although the threat cannot be ignored. Therefore, Google Glass will receive competition from other gadgets that are already in sale to the public, which are used to access similar functions. However, due to its uniqueness, Google Glass can dictate the market progress. For example, a consumer may opt to carry the Google Glass when going for a walk, jog or cycling, instead of carrying their phones. It is possible due to its nature and the fact that one can operate most of the phone’s functions using the Google Glass.
Competitors’ Market Share
- Primary Competitors’ Market Share
Although the financial and market share statistics are not available, Lumus is the only company that is currently selling smart eyeglasses. Arguably, the company has the entire share of the market. However, since their products are not very popular and they sell them in small amounts, they have not ventured into all the available market. Additionally, they do not sell their products to individuals, hence, making the market quite open for new companies. Although Lumus has the entire market share, hypothetically, they have not ventured into most of the potential areas in the market. On the other hand, Meta’s SpaceGlasses are still at their development stage; therefore, they do not have a market share yet. Consequently, there is a wide market available for the Google Glass, especially due to Google’s popularity.
- Secondary Competitors’ Market Share
Although the Google Glass differs from the secondary competitors, it is fighting for the same consumers. It is probable that the consumers who own and understand the availability of the other technological gadgets are the only ones who will purchase the Google Glass. Therefore, the secondary competitors are critical in the market. Since Google Glass is yet to be released into the market, the rest of the competitors share the entire market.
Google’s Current Marketing Strategy
Being the first technology firm to market wearable smart glasses, Google hopes to dominate the market. Google has crowdfunded Google Glass. The company has shown an example of how crowdfunding ought to be done. Additionally, there is also an aspect of double-incentive in it. Crowdfunding is a practice that is used in funding a project or venturing through raising money in small amounts from different people (Douw, 2012). Google has already distributed Glass to about 8,000 developers who attended the recent I/O Conference either in person or virtually. The developers ate the innovators of the mass market. In the market of innovation, innovators are usually quick to take up new technology and development and that is why they were willing to pay $1,500 for Google Glass (Shaughnessy, 2013).
Given the company’s success in product innovation, Glass will capitalize on first-mover advantage in wearable computing to get a large market share and the ability to charge premium prices. The company will leverage on its infrastructure to achieve economies of scope so that to reduce initial costs. The company has also invested in its customer service department in order to develop a positive experience attribute the innovators and early adopters of the mass market. The objective of the company’s marketing strategy for Google Glass entails acquiring customers and stimulating demand (Shaughnessy, 2013). The company will utilize high quality advertising and marketing through the social media. Additionally, the Google Glass is already in use by the “Explorers” (innovators in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle [TALC]), which gives Google an opportunity to target the early adopters through positive word of mouth from the innovators, resulting from the robust design. The company understands that the user acceptance is essential in ensuring that the rumors are positive. The company has also focused on technological synergy to guarantee market penetration. The company is exploiting synergies within the firm through the android operating system, Gmail, Google.com, Google Play Store and Google+ (Shaughnessy, 2013).
The Four P’s
Google Glass will use skimming and premium pricing in order to penetrate the market. Price skimming will assist the company in recovering the costs incurred in research and development. The company will target the early adopters and innovators, who are willing to pay high prices for the new products. During the recent I/O Conference, the company sold 8,000 devices, at $1,500, and more people were willing to purchase. Since the product is venturing into the market without significant competition, it may begin with premium prices, but once new competitors get into the market, it will have to reduce the price. It has been predicted that, after the gadget’s I/O price of $1,500, it will be released into the market for the public at about $600 (Shaughnessy, 2013).
The Google Glass is a smart glass that has a head mounted display lens, which enables the user to access applications and features. In addition, it has a voice command, hence the user can control it hands free. Additionally, the gadget has a camera that enables the user to capture images and take videos. Moreover, the user can upload the videos and share them on Google+, using the gadget’s Wi-Fi connectivity. One can read and reply e-mails and messages, as well and also make video calls and play music (Missfeldt, 2013). The Google Glass is at its final assessment and rectification stage. The company released the product to few members of the public during its initial offer conference in 2013, and they have been taking their views on the product and doing the necessary corrections prior to the official release to the public later in 2015. It is a trend setter in the mass market, and it has all the necessary applications that the consumers require. Additionally, the developers are working on improvements and various versions of the product so that it could be released for different markets.
Since most people are aware of Google’s logo and brand, it will act as an advantage to the company’s promotional initiative. The gadget is already in promotion through Google’s official website, which is visited by billions of people. Adam Courcy, Google’s Marketing Vice President, ensures that Google Glass gets the best promotion to the public. He has done it through placing advertisements, attending trade shows and expositions, sending out mailers and generating leads. The company also places advertisements in magazines and webpages. In addition, it places three advertisements daily on CBS, one side bar advertisement on PCmag.com and one advertisement per week on every new episode of Walking Dead. Additionally, during the Super Bowl, Google ran advertisements for Google Glass. It will also utilize the side bar on the search engine for advertising the product. The promotional initiative will ensure success for Google Glass (Shaughnessy, 2013). The product targets technology fans and the population between 16 and 30 years. The company is also integrating and interacting with the public to ensure that they understand about the product. In addition, Google has invested in its customer and public relation departments to ensure that consumers get attended to and they get high quality service.
Google is an international brand; hence, the products have market exposure in every part of the world where Google has its presence. The developed countries should be a priority during the sale of the Google Glass, mainly due to the fact that most of their population has access to advanced technology. For instance, during the I/O Conference, the product was sold only in the USA. In addition, the product will also be available for sale through the official website, which will guarantee its accessibility throughout the world. The product will also be placed in Google’s physical outlets throughout the world, as well as other reseller outlets.
- Political Analysis
Globally, people are already questioning and raising their concerns about the Google Glass. The gadget has received criticism in regard to different legal, ethical and regulatory issues. For instance, 5 Point Caf?, a bar in Seattle, made a public ban on Google Glass within their premise. They did so due to the privacy issues, regarding the gadget’s ability to send and receive information about individuals without their consent (Kleptic, 2013). For example, issues have been raised regarding the possibility of drivers using the Google Glass to watch videos while driving. Another issue regards whether the video of accident recorded by the driver using Google Glass can be presented as evidence in a law court. If so, it could change the way court proceedings occur. In addition, it is questionable on whether it will be illegal to wear the glasses in areas where there is “no photographing” signs (Valinsky, 2014).
- Economic Analysis
It will be easy to access the Internet and various applications by the partners, employees, customers and suppliers. It is less likely to leave the Google Glass behind as compared to a mobile phone or a tablet. The Google Glass will make interaction easier and streamlined. It is enabled by the voice command application in the gadget. In addition, the user will be able to observe and monitor alerts without having to appear as though they are drifting out their conversation. The gadget provides a good tool for multitasking and mobility. It is also an introduction to a new generation of wearable technological devices.
- Social Analysis
The society got used to lone bystanders talking aloud in public places, without looking at them suspiciously. The progress has resulted to the common use of Bluetooth headsets. They have transformed the manner, in which people listen and think in public and social places. The Google Glass is a similar revolution, as it is about to transform the field of society’s vision. The device is expected to be a massive transformation in the social and cultural aspects of the human race (Armstrong, 2014). It is the beginning of the way people can have a new perspective to vision.
- Technological Analysis
In the modern days, conversations in most places, including work space, occur informally. The technological advancement presented by the gadget will result in the fact that some people will “Google” their way through life. It will create an increase in the mobile-savvy workforce. They will also have high expectations on connectedness, online interactions and communications. Privacy will also be compromised in multiple settings. Businesses will also invest in technology in order to favor mobile-based devices (Galdo, Galdo, & Bryant, 2014). It will result in an increased number of Wi-Fi spots and the strength of the connections. Infrastructure based on cloud-based and mobile solutions will also be developed.
SWOT Analysis Google Glass
Google is a very popular search engine globally. The brand has been well-established and it is credible. The company will experience loyalty from the customers as they develop more products and services for the customers. The company has maintained its core revenue growth, which will assist in product sales and advertising in comparison to competitors. Google Glass presents a new eyewear technology in the market for the average consumer. The technology will attract consumers who like to keep up with new technology (Parslow, 2014).
In some cases, the novelty of the product could act as a drawback. Some people may express caution when purchasing the Google Glass, because of the unknown. For example, people may fear that the eyewear may have adverse health effects on eyes with time. In addition, due to the novelty of the technology, it will be expensive for the consumers at the initial stages.
Google has a strong marketing department and it is also well-known. Consequently, Google will not face struggles when advertising the Google Glass. At the first stage, the company will face little competition, which may not have a great impact. Therefore, the company has an opportunity to venture into a wide scope of markets.
The long-term health effects of the eyewear on the users are still unknown. The side effects of long-term use of the Goggle Glass could result in migraines and eyesight problems. Some people may not purchase the product due to fear of rejection, until the product becomes a “fad”. It also faces a competition threat from Meta and Lumus.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Google has introduced a product that has huge possibilities for adaptation. Google Glass is an eyewear that enables the user to access applications, Internet, capture images and record videos hands-free. Being a new product, Google can venture into new markets. The company focuses on the mass market as the product for consumers. However, the device faces competition from Lumus and Meta, which are technological companies developing smart eyeglasses. In addition, the company faces secondary competition from other gadgets with similar functions to the Google Glass. With an initial price of $1,500, the company needs to lower the price once it releases the product officially to the public. The company ought to conduct proper marketing campaign, which will target specific users and experiences. It is possible for the company to reach economies of scale. It can also stimulate demand for its search products and complementary software. The company should keep proper updates, financial backing, focus and support for Google Glass to be successful in the market. Potentially, Google Glass may become one of the leading communication gadgets in the world. However, it will need to implement its marketing strategy.