Product marketing manager Amanda Rosenberg reveals the suggestions rejected in favour of ‘OK Glass’ in early days of augmented eyewear project
Early adopters of Google Glass get a palpable thrill out of saying “OK Glass” before speaking commands to Google’s voice-activated augmented eyewear.
But how much more thrilled would they be if the activation phrase was “Glass Alive”, “Go Go Glass” or “Pew Pew Pew”? These, according to product marketing manager Amanda Rosenberg, were among the rejected options in the early days of Glass’ development.
She has published a list of so-called “hotwords” supplied by Glass product manager Mat Balez, although he may well have had tongue firmly in cheek when compiling it.
Rosenberg revealed the list as part of an explanation of how “OK Glass” got the nod, after she came up with idea over dinner with Balez and his wife shortly before getting her job on the Glass team in 2012.
“He then asked me if I had any ideas for the hotword. In that moment the only phrase I could think of was ‘OK Glass’. I didn’t tell him straightaway though. Instead, I continued to look pensive and muttered something about ‘looking into it’ just to appear as though I was going to put more than 3 seconds of work into it,” wrote Rosenberg on Google+.
“When I got home, I tried my best to think of something else, anything else so that I could at least have a few options to send to Mat. Alas, I could not think of any others. I’ve been fortunately cursed with a one-track mind. So, I decided to put all my Glass eggs in one basket and send over a rationale for ‘OK Glass’… A week later, it was implemented.”
Rosenberg has published the email she sent to Balez in April 2012 making the case for “OK” as “the most frequently used word on the planet. Denotes approval, acceptance, agreement, assent or acknowledgment, but is also a frequent expression used for transitions in conversation”.
It’s the list of alternatives that were supposedly being considered, provided by Balez in 2013, that’s raising chuckles today. The examples pulled out by Rosenberg:
Listen up Glass
Hear me now
Let me use Glass to
Go Go Glass
3, 2, 1…
Pew pew pew
The most striking point here, though, is the human element of the anecdote.
Despite everything you’ve read about Google’s famed love of iteration through exhaustive A/B testing – 40 shades of blue links and the like – the potentially-iconic hotword for Google Glass was a Eureka moment for one person, in a car back from dinner, racking their brains for a better alternative.
Not that testing didn’t play a role. “Coming up with the phrase was the easy part. Figuring out if it would work, was another story. There’s a whole team at Glass who worked very hard testing and implementing it before it was adopted,” writes Rosenberg.
“It’s hugely exciting to hear “OK Glass” being used today. That said, ‘Device, please’ is growing on me.”
Did the Glass team miss a trick though? “OK Glass” seems set as the activation phrase for now, but feel free to suggest your own alternatives in the comments section.
“To me, to you”, “Check this Maven out right here” and “ALRIGHT NOW!” (bellowed like Reef’s Gary Stringer in Place Your Hands) being my suggestions – or at least my strong evidence for why Google has never tried to poach me for a product marketing job.