If Google are good at one thing, it’s creating a buzz. In fact Google are good at many things, and their successful product offering speaks for itself. In my opinion they’ve got email just right, they own the biggest video-sharing platform in the world (admittedly they didn’t create YouTube, they’ve only built on it), they have a pretty decent cloud-based file storage service in the form of Google Drive, not to mention the whole Android thing and of course the search engine itself. Their social network isn’t groundbreaking it has to be said, but it has its uses.
But one thing that’s really impressed me with Google is its ability to get everyone excited about something. Maybe getting excited about Google-related stuff is just my equivalent of Sheldon on new comic book day (Big Bang Theory reference), but through my rose-tinted spectacles they’ve done a good job of making themselves heard.
Before I move on, I have to apologise for sounding like a Google fan-boy. Working in SEO means I can’t escape Google; like any other digital marketer I have a sort of fear relationship with the company – I love them, but I am also terrified of them! Maybe if I sing their praises Google will spare me when they bring out the next Panda or Penguin update? (Sorry, that one’s for the SEO geeks). I digress.
Where was I? Ah yes.
So you might have heard about Project Glass (aka ‘Google Glass’). To bring you up to speed, Google are developing glasses with built in augmented reality – essentially spectacles married with a computer. It looks pretty neat, and frankly I’d love to own a pair just to be amazed at how they work. But something inside me believes that I won’t ever own a pair of Google glasses; partly because of the estimated $1,500 price-tag that will accompany them, and partly because they’ll make anyone who wears them look like an tool.
To be fair, aesthetically they don’t look all that bad, but I hate the idea of people meeting up, or taking a walk with each other, all the while talking to their glasses. As if technology wasn’t killing face-to-face conversation enough? Google have got a lot of people excited about this product, creating a sort of Project Glass utopia (as shown by the advert below). Somehow I see the reality of wearing these glasses to be a little more douchey. It’s like Siri all over again…
I’ve leave you to decide what you think of the product itself, but for now I’m going to steer back towards how Google have got people so excited about it. They’ve publicised focus group events, where developers from other organisations get to pitch in to help make the user experience better (showing off the product in the process), and now they’ve created an earlier release date for developers and a select few winners of the ‘If I Had Glass’ competition (which conveniently includes a bunch of celebrities, such as Soulja Boy and Neil Patrick Harris). Truth be told the whole Project Glass thing has dragged on a bit, but credit to Google for the (not so) subtle ways of sparking peoples’ interest in the product.
Naturally Google aren’t the only ones capable of creating a buzz in the tech world – Sony have recently been teasing fans with news about the PS4, which may be released at the back end of this year, and Apple are the masters of the ‘buzz’, making their fans’ mouths water in anticipation of each and every new product they release. But with Project Glass and a few smaller campaigns Google have managed to maintain an “anything you can do” attitude. Of course this is expected with such a massive organisation – anyone would think I was going on about it because they’re a small start-up with a tiny budget!
Nevertheless Google never cease to amaze me. Yes they’re a humongous organisation which practically monopolises search on the web (which is scary at times and a little annoying), but I think technology is a lot better off because of them. And my life is more entertaining as a result of their ability to get me excited about their products. Hell, even their recent April Fools pranks were greatly entertaining, and really showed off Google’s human side. Its little things like that swing my relationship with Google into the ‘love’ zone, rather than the ‘hate’ and ’fear’ zones they often appear in.
Does anyone else get the feeling that they’d like Google’s products so much better if each one belonged to a separate smaller company? I think the fact that they’re so huge makes people sort of expect great innovation to come out of it (and rightly so, they’re a huge company), and we’re perhaps not as impressed by their products as we might be if they were a nice start-up? Food for thought I guess…
By the way, is it just me or does ‘Google Buzz’ sound like a really cool name for a future product? Could be a good replacement for Google Reader? Just saying…
If I had Glass, I’d enjoy it for a week and look like an arse in the process. What do you think?