Sometime Google makes me giggle with something very close to child like glee. I’m a huge fan of the disturbingly close to real life HBO comedy Silicone Valley. Those guys are so dead on it’s uncomfortable…and the latest PR stunt pulled by big G is well worthy of an episode.
I have commented in recent weeks about Googles most controversial product of late; the two-year-in-and-still-in-beta product Google Glass. I have lamented how elitist and frankly weird it is and how elitist and weird its wearers look…Glassholes is the term Google rather endearingly coined for their own product wearers. In a move of simply monumental blockheadedness Google staged meetups of Glassholes in 8 major cities around the US on Saturday. They got to hang out looking awkward and creepy in bars, go on historic rambles and bike rides (what is it about bike rides that the young and geeky find them so irresistible) and have staged and awkward media interviews. I have read maybe a dozen accounts of the various events. Apart from the stock photos or product ads I counted exactly zero women and only one person of color in all the pics of the evens. All the wearers were pressed out of the silicone valley mold…it was hilarious.
Add to that the recent report by Teardown.com that the constituent parts of Glass amounts to about $80 worth of materials…well it’s been a tough week in Google town. I’m less bothered by the Teardown numbers because a similar argument could be made that the Mona Lisa is made out of $30 worth of canvas and paint…there has no doubt been a ton of effort applied in the creation of Glass and nothing is forcing anyone to wear the wretched things.
There’s a simple solve for this conundrum. Let’s give Google the benefit of the doubt and throw $50 of development costs per item sold and then double the price to give a 100% retail markup. If they started selling them at $300 a piece soon every fourteen year old would have them under the tree at Christmas…even your mother may get a pair. This single move would demystify and democratize them and probably spin off a ton of great innovation around them. They would become a huge factor in our lives (like the iPod or cell phone) or would rapidly fizzle like the Segway or Zune. Either way we wouldn’t have to read about Glassholes support meeting up to reinforce each others smuggery…..and even I may get a pair.