By Jake Underwood on Fri, 02/28/2014
“Hi there," began the e-mail. Even for a devoted Apple fan, this moment was still exciting—an e-mail for Google Glass. I, Jake Underwood, high school senior, had been included in the chosen group. I had been offered a chance to buy Google Glass for $1500 plus tax. Can I borrow some cash?
In an email received last Tuesday, I was cordially invited by Google to purchase Google Glass. All I had to do in that moment was follow a few links, whip out my parent’s credit card, and I would have been a proud owner of a rare piece of technology, with an ease that surprised me greatly. On second thought, and maybe without realizing it, I had just been dropped a big hint that Glass is on its way—and quickly.
Admittedly, there was no real reason for Google to invite me to test out Glass. I am not yet (maybe one day) what Malcolm Gladwell calls a Maven (one who advocates for a brand/product and influences others). I won’t be wearing Glass to any board meetings or developing apps to change lives. My only guess as to why I received the e-mail was because I signed up as an interested person on their website six months ago. In my “application” I did not even list anything that would make me a good candidate to influence others. I was, quality-wise, the last person Google should have picked. And that’s what makes this interesting.
Google, unless I’ve vastly misunderstood the recent events, is trying to bring its smart glasses to the general public in hopes that when it actually goes live, it will already be a key part of lives around the world. With more invitations comes more purchases and more testers who are paying to get their hands on a product that will undoubtedly come out eventually. This increased number of users will make for a community that spreads the word about the product, hyping it up until it is open to everyone.
What seems the most obvious here is that Google is really trying to use this downtime of “perfecting” Glass to market the idea without spending any advertising money. With more people using Glass, a greater number of people will be introduced to the concept of a computer on the face. The mystery of such a different product will, over time, decrease and when it is finally announced (presumably) this year, it will be well on its way to acceptance with early adopters, similar to when the first iPad was introduced in 2010.
Google has also been known to expand their programs via invitation in the past. When Gmail was first being created and tested, a group of 1000 people were permitted to send invites to friends, family, or coworkers. If that rollout is any indication of how Glass will progress, we may be winking to take pictures very soon.