Who had Google Glass, or looked like they had it, in 2012?
The question comes because Sarah Price, of the Google Glass team was kind enough to respond back to my blog post ranting on the firm for basically fumbling the football when it came to distribution to African Americans (note, I’m specifically referring to black folks here), and also not taking care to get the device to YouTube Partners – well, me to be honest. (I mean considering that I have covered Comic Con, Wonder Con, The NFL Draft and other events, you’d think Google would want to get Glass in my hands – well, on my face – right?)
Well, before I get to the matter of her question to me, I have to take time to thank Sarah because her response at least eliminates the feeling that more often than not Google is this box that you put things into in the way of a question, and no human being comes back with an answer. As a person who’s a fan of the company and of YouTube in particular, I’ve been involved so long that I feel a degree of both entitlement and concern for it. It’s like family.
But, as is true for most families, there is dysfunction. That generally happens due to lack of communication, so Sarah is to be applauded and rewarded for reaching out to me.
At any rate, Sarah wrote this:
Hi Zennie, I work on the Glass team. From the beginning it has been important to us to have a diverse group of Explorers, so I’m very surprised to read this post.
Could you clarify how and when you expressed interest in Glass? Glass was announced on April 4, 2012, and we’ve had a simple interest form available at google.com/glass/start/… since February 20, 2013. It’s still very early for Glass and there are many more people who have expressed interest than we have spots in the Explorer Program right now, but we have been slowly experimenting with different ways to expand the program, including via that form.
We also took signups at Google I/O from June 27-29, 2012, but all of the people who signed up there have already received invitations to purchase Glass.
I’m not aware of any forms for Glass that existed two years ago, so please let me know how you expressed interest and if you think there has been a misunderstanding and I’m happy to look into it.
Also, since you mentioned a few of our more prominent/”famous” Explorers, here are links for just a few of our amazing “every day” Explorers, if you want to read about their experiences with Glass:
This is what I wrote in response in the comments section:
Hi and thanks and I will follow-up privately as well. Google Glass was brought to my attention via a number of people I’m acquainted and are friends with (and who are bloggers and journalists) because I cover tech events from The Crunchies to CES and so on. So, for me, I was told repeatedly to go and sign up for Google Glass, and so I did – that was late in 2011.
Then, starting in 2012, I watched as some YouTubers were using Google Glass in their videos and started wondering “why not me?” As one of YouTube’s first partners, I’m still wondering.
And Ms. Price:
Hi Zennie, I followed up privately too. But rereading, I just noticed you said you saw YouTubers using Glass in 2012. Would you be able to link me to any of those videos? No one outside of Google had a Glass device prior to April 2013.
Well, that’s not exactly true but I’m going to give Sarah the benefit of the doubt. Google’s Sergie Brin allowed a set of media types in to try Google Glass in July of 2012. One of them was CNET’s Refe Needleman, and another was Ben Parr, who was at Mashable at the time.
And Brin took CNET skydiving using Google Glass in 2012:
Could have called me.
And my friend Laura Locke sent an email to me in July of 2012 on her BBC article about Google Glass and what developers thought about it.
While Sarah Price says that “No one outside of Google had a Glass device prior to April 2013” for me as a media person, it was clear that other media types were allowed to try it out, and then were given the device when it was released in April – CNET and Verve writers took “driving tests” using Glass.
And at CES 2013 in January, Google’s Russ Mirov was spotted with Google Glass, but few knew who he was. Meanwhile, I was at CES 2012, and Russ wasn’t the only person I saw wearing Google Glass and the one other person I saw was a journalist I did not know.
Meanwhile AndroidDoes noted that Ossama Alami was wearing Google Glass at a CES 2013 party thrown by WIRED. But how is anyone except for someone who knows the faces, to know that only Google employees have Google Glass? To the outside world, it looks like just a select group of white males (except for the Asian Mr. Parr) had them, or had access to them.
Meanwhile, I’m out there, or here. I wasn’t one of the 1,000 tech influencers who got copies of Google Glass. And yet, if you think I’m not a tech influencer, then tell the folks who send me press releases on their products, apps, and startups every damn day that I’m not a tech influencer.
Every damn day.
People are sensitive to how tech is distributed to society today. The racial digital divide is not just borne of economics, but of social patterns. It’s like Chris Rock said “I love today. All my black friends and friends of color have white friends in their entourage. And my white friends, they have one black friend in theirs!”
If Google want to stop being part of the joke, it has to expand it’s base. I’m glad Sarah Price is hip to the problem – she points to a new day for Google. I just wish she’d get a pair of Google Glass to me so I can use them to chronicle Oakland. Oakland, with its diverse population, should be the proving ground for Google Glass.
This is important. I had a family friend present a tech app idea to me, but very openly said he wanted to “keep it in the black community” first. And he said this for obvious reasons.
If that’s the kind of society we want to have, then tech types in the San Francisco Bay Area should keep up their anti-black or women behavior – because of them, that’s what we’re going to get. It’s up to the Sarah Prices of the World to save us.
One Google Glass at a time.