Google responds to Glass backlash with slick video

Google apparently feels the need to respond to the growing backlash against Glass.

It’s been little more than a month since Google first started sending the eyeglass-shaped, wearable computing device out to customers. But the device has already been the butt of jokes and satirical Web sites — heck even Saturday Night Live spoofed it last weekend!

With critics having already coined a derisive word to put down owners who love to show off their new toy, some are even ready to dismiss the whole concept, putting it in the same category as Segways and pocket protectors — products that never found an audience beyond a small crowd of social misfits.

So it may come as no surprise that Google is trying to spin the conversation back in Glass’ favor.

Glass, in the company’s view, is the perfect way to share your experiences with others. It’s the ultimate in first-person storytelling, allowing users to share in real-time what they are seeing and experiencing, whether it’s a simple stroll down a block or a sky dive. (The company doesn’t want anyone to really dwell too long on the potential for voyeurism or all the privacy implications, of course.)

To illustrate one of the ways in which Glass can be used to do cool things, the company posted a video late Friday of a science teacher visiting the Large Hadron Collider, a giant particle smasher run by Geneva-based CERNAndrew Vanden Heuvel, who teaches advanced physics in Michigan, used Glass to take students along for the ride as he went on a tour.

Google clearly saw this as a chance to get some good Glass PR. In his #ifihadglass proposal, Heuvel, who primarily teaches his courses over the Internet, had pitched something much more pedestrian, using Glass taking students along with him as he went to the grocery store and read nutrition labels, swung on a swing or viewed prisms of light coming of a light bulb. According to Heuvel’s blog, Google’s representatives came to him with the idea for him to tour the Large Hadron Collider

As a result the video you see on YouTube is not just a simple copy of what Heuvel shot with Glass. In fact, very little of the footage in the video actually comes from the device.

Instead, it’s essentially a commercial for Glass. We get shots of Heuvel at his house, talking about wanting to be an astronaut. We get shots of him unboxing Glass. We see him board the plane to Geneva. And we see him entering the collider facility. Heck, we even get to see video shot by a separate camera crew of the students with whom he communicated.

In other words, the video does a lot to tell us about Glass, but doesn’t do a lot to show us what it’s like to experience Glass — either as the person wearing the device or the folks viewing the video feed coming from Glass.

For what it’s worth, Heuvel truly appeared to enjoy his experience with Glass and seems enthusiastic about using the device in the future. But then, he’s not necessarily a typical consumer; in the video he put together to apply for Glass, he created his own jerry-built version, attaching a smartphone to a headband using electrical tape.

You can watch the Glass video below.

Photo, of Heuvel and family, courtesy of Google via YouTube.


Troy Wolverton Troy Wolverton (296 Posts)

Troy writes the Tech Files column as the Personal Technology Columnist at the San Jose Mercury News. He also covers the digital media, mobile and video game industries and writes occasionally about Apple, chips, social networking and other aspects of technology. Previously, Troy covered Apple and the consumer electronics industry. Prior to joining the Mercury News, Troy reported on technology, business and financial issues for and CNET