Too white and too self-conscious to wear Google Glass?

Too white and too self-conscious to wear Google Glass?

Summary: 'White guys wearing Google Glass' is a product-killer meme that's already having an effect.

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TOPICS: Google
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A friend who is a prominent geek, always a bit of a rebel, and very comfortable with self-promotion, is very concerned about posting a picture of himself wearing Google Glass.

He just got them and was super excited to finally have them; he had told all his social networks about it days in advance. When they finally arrived, he told his friends he couldn't post a photo of himself wearing them for fear of turning up on rapidly proliferating sites specializing in photos of "White Geeks wearing Google Glass".

I suggested that he try "black face", but that would probably set off another rush for domain names and specialized sites, and make his predicament worse than if he'd stayed natural. 

However, if my friend is concerned about posting a picture of himself wearing Glass, what about other geeks? What about any of them wearing their Glass in public? They will all be live fodder for anyone out there. Their photos of a white guy wearing Glass could end up online sooner or later — and not in a good, cool kind of way.

There are solutions. One is to only wear them at home in private, watching out for open windows and curtains. Or in public, but wearing large, black sunglasses to hide the interior Glass. Those types of sunglasses can be found at medical equipment stores and don't require a prescription.

Memes such as these can be product killers. Google knows how to track memes with services such as Google Trends. But does it know what to do in response to negative sentiment or how best to boost Glass.

Here's how Google can help boost Glass wearers: Encourage diversity within geek communities and workplaces — starting with a radical new hiring policy at Google.

By helping to build diversity within geek society and its sub-cultures, it will be great for business because it will mean that a "white guy" meme can't be stuck onto any Google products or its brand. Apple can have it back.

It would be a smart business move because it saddles Apple, a formidable competitor with a big problem. It'll be solved by Apple, in turn, by building diversity into its brand, and so on, in a domino diversity tumble across a global industry, and it might actually result in something great. All because of "White guys wearing Google Glass".

Update: Marcus Wohlsen writing in Wired Business a few minutes ago, agrees that "Guys like this could kill Google Glass before it ever gets off the ground".

Topic: Google

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20 comments
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  • meh

    "Memes such as these can be product killers."

    Doubtful. I've never heard of a "meme" killing a product.

    That being said - I don't have much faith that Google Glass is gonna be big to begin with. They seem more like a tech toy than a useful tool.

    "starting with a radical new hiring policy at Google." - uhhhh, what? I'm pretty sure this has nothing to do with their hiring practices. I'm pretty sure that both Google and Apple value diversity.

    Some random blogs that have nothing to do with Google post highly stereotypical images, therefor Google has to overhaul its hiring practices? Where is the logic in that??
    CobraA1
  • How about this, Get over it

    So he bought a product, and is now worried about what other people thing about him using the product that he bought.....

    If he is that concerned about it why did he buy it in the first place? How about you just dont do stupid photos like the shower one in wired. Combine this and just get over it. There is nothing wrong with being a white guy, contrary to pop culture, it is not a bad thing.
    AceOfClubs
  • If I saw someone wearing these......

    I would ask him what my power level was.
    ragnarokxg
    • Now that...

      Was the funniest thing I've ever read on this forum. Well played sir.
      mikedees
    • You just won the internet today

      There is going to be an arm race for the best scouter app on Google Glass.
      srkelley5
  • Are you a racist?

    ... you sound like a nut. What a idiotic area of focus. Where do you people get this stuff?
    mortondest
    • Are You Being Political Correct?

      Idiots come in all colours.
      Moosehouse
      • His point being...

        ...that idiots come in all colors, making the race reference irrelevant.
        John L. Ries
  • Why would anyone...

    put on glasses if they do not have poor vision? I HATE wearing my glasses...
    condelirios
  • Apparently...

    ...people need a lot more face-to-face social interaction, which Google Glass is bound to discourage.
    John L. Ries
  • Another perpetual beta product

    from google, that no one wants to be seen with. Hmmmm....
    hoppmang
    • While I think it's stupid...

      Apparently, there are people willing to be seen with one, otherwise we wouldn't be having this conversation.
      John L. Ries
  • signs of prejudice

    Anyone who judges if a product is good or bad by the fact that people of a certain skin color is using it or not is exercising prejudice based on skin color or in other words, racism. Tell your friend not to be concerned about judgmental racists who think something is bad just because white people use it. Ask him to replace White with any other ethnic group in the title of this article and see how bad it would sound. Judging on skin color, white or not sounds really ugly. Please tell him not to feel bad about his own skin color.
    szamprogno@...
    • You...

      Are reading wayyyyyyy too much into this. White people use the internet... so does everyone else on the planet. The issue is strapping the dorky looking things to your head. They look dorky as hell. And let's face it... agree or disagree when it comes to the dork factor us white folk have a higher than normal representation.
      Royce Cannon
  • No

    We don't need a race based quota policy at Google. It's already difficult enough to prove my knowledge and merits as a minority in some places, why do we need special treatment just to make someone else feel better?
    srkelley5
  • I don't know about being too white...

    But I know douchey when I see it - so if not wanting to look like one is being 'too self-conscious' then so be it. I prefer to think of it as having a better sense of style and taste.
    TheWerewolf
  • Much Ado About Nothing

    and I am Black.
    Move on nothing to see.
    Richardbz
  • silly journalist outsider

    Everybody knows that white people at Google are a minority. Have you ever been on campus? Or are you saying that Asian people are also by default uncool. If so, who who suffices for the cool diversity demographic segment? So silly, by virtue of being a relentless meritocracy you see all colors there, and that's the right way to get to that state of diversity not your ridiculous cool mix nonsense.
    danielalevitt
  • Thanks..

    ...for reminding me why I usually ignore ZDNet.
    ogman
  • Too black and too self-conscious to wear Google Glass?

    This article probably would not have been published if it read like this...


    .......
    He just got them and was super excited to finally have them; he had told all his social networks about it days in advance. When they finally arrived, he told his friends he couldn't post a photo of himself wearing them for fear of turning up on rapidly proliferating sites specializing in photos of "Black Geeks wearing Google Glass".

    I suggested that he try "white face", but that would probably set off another rush for domain names and specialized sites, and make his predicament worse than if he'd stayed natural.

    However, if my friend is concerned about posting a picture of himself wearing Glass, what about other geeks? What about any of them wearing their Glass in public? They will all be live fodder for anyone out there. Their photos of a black guy wearing Glass could end up online sooner or later — and not in a good, cool kind of way.

    By helping to build diversity within geek society and its sub-cultures, it will be great for business because it will mean that a "black guy" meme can't be stuck onto any Google products or its brand. Apple can have it back.

    It would be a smart business move because it saddles Apple, a formidable competitor with a big problem. It'll be solved by Apple, in turn, by building diversity into its brand, and so on, in a domino diversity tumble across a global industry, and it might actually result in something great. All because of "Black guys wearing Google Glass".
    ........
    TrollsBgone.