Is Google Really Offering Glass To This Woman? (Update: No.)

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 27 2013 7:27 PM

Google Rescinds "Glass" Offers to People Who Proposed Using the Device for Evil

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, introduces the Google Glass Explorer program during Google's annual developer conference.
Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, introduces the Google Glass Explorer program during Google's annual developer conference.

Photo by Kimihiro Hoshino/AFP/GettyImages

Google has waged a long and brilliant campaign to stoke anticipation and demand for Project Glass, the futuristic smart glasses that can shoot video and take phone calls. After offering only peeks and teases for months, the company last month announced a "Glass Explorers" contest, inviting members of the public to apply for a chance to be among the first to buy and test out the device. Those interested were instructed to post the hashtag #ifihadglass to Twitter or Google+ along with a proposal for how they would use the product. A spokesman told Future Tense's Adam Sneed the company was looking for creative ideas from a wide range of backgrounds, lifestyles, and hobbies, to make sure Glass would be used in all kinds of activities.

Will Oremus Will Oremus

Will Oremus is Slate's senior technology writer.

On Tuesday, the company began announcing the winners, and their proposals are indeed diverse. There's a woman from Missouri who wants to take the glasses to a VA hospital and let veterans see their war memorials; a San Francisco zookeeper who would use them to broadcast penguin feedings; and the novelist Gary Shteyngart, who tweeted that he would use them to dream up ideas for a TV adaptation of his latest book. Also selected was Adria Richards, who was unjustly fired by SendGrid last week after a tweet she sent from a tech conference prompted an outpouring of vitriol from the Internet's ugliest corners. Her proposal, penned before the firestorm: "#ifihadglass I would show introverts how to create authentic connections in real life like I've learned to do."

Advertisement

Inspired choices, all. It will be interesting to see what they come up with. But, respectfully, I'd quibble with Google's judgment in at least this one selection, which Gizmodo's Sam Biddle flagged on Twitter:

#ifihadglass I'd cut a bitch
One winning proposal.

Screenshot / Twitter

That sounds... dangerous?

When I asked Google reps for the rationale behind this particular selection, they said they were not sure and are looking into it. The company notes that the 8,000 contest winners were actually not selected by Google employees, but by an independent panel. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but I'd say that independent panel's list of choices could have used a second pair of eyes.

UPDATE, Wednesday, March 27, 11:17 p.m.: Turns out that was far from the only dubious Glass proposal that the company rewarded with an invitation to join its Explorers program. New York's Dan Amira rounded up enough to make him wonder whether the winners were chosen entirely at random

But at least no one need fear being "cut" by the would-be Explorer noted above. In a statement Wednesday evening, the company said, "it's become clear that a few applications that don't comply with our terms have slipped through the cracks, and we're going to have to disqualify applications like these." So far they've disqualified two, including Graziano, who is clearly amused by the whole thing

Screen shot 2013-03-27 at 11.32.47 P

So the takeaway here is that Google actually wasn't being all that selective about who it will allow to fork over $1,500 for a pair of smart glasses. Or at least no more selective than Tom Sawyer was about who he'd let whitewash his fence.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

TODAY IN SLATE

Doublex

Crying Rape

False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

How Will You Carry Around Your Huge New iPhone? Apple Pants!

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Lifetime Didn’t Find the Steubenville Rape Case Dramatic Enough. So They Added a Little Self-Immolation.

No, New York Times, Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman” 

Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 1:39 PM Shonda Rhimes Is Not an “Angry Black Woman,” New York Times. Neither Are Her Characters.
Behold
Sept. 19 2014 1:11 PM An Up-Close Look at the U.S.–Mexico Border
  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
  Life
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.