Bust out the stars and stripes, crack open a Pabst and get patriotic because Google Glass, the augmented reality nerd accessory of the future, will be reportedly made in America — by Foxconn. The Financial Times dropped this exciting scoop early Wednesday evening, sourcing the news to "people familiar with the company's plans." It's a headline-stealing notion for sure, especially given all the back-and-forth coverage of Apple's manufacturing practices, abused Foxconn workers in China and Barack Obama's so-far failed ambition to build an iPhone in the United States. Although the two products are hardly comparable in terms of scale — Google will only build a few thousand Glass headsets in the United States, while Apple builds millions of iPhones in China — it's a real PR win on Google's part. If the reports are true, Google will send the message that it believes in American manufacturing so much that it's willing to bet its biggest product launch ever on it.
For Google, the timing of the Financial Times scoop couldn't have been better. Tuesday was also the day that the team working on Glass announced the lucky winners of its #ifihadglass contest. Back in February, it asked fans to tweet that hashtag along with an idea for the new technology for a chance to be first in line to buy the product for $1,500, when Google releases the first batch. Apparently, pretty much everybody won, including this guy who wrote "#ifihadglass I'd cut a bitch" and this girl who wasn't even trying to enter the contest. Like any good viral marketing campaign does, though, Google managed to get the winners to tell their friends about their lucky day. Meanwhile, Google took care to highlight a few heartwarming stories of soon-to-be Glass owners. If you spend a lot of time on social media, you'll know that social media loves heartwarming stories.
So suddenly, it's dinner time, and everybody's talking about Glass. Bear in mind the fact that Google is only releasing 8,000 of the American-made devices to the winners of the #ifihadglass competition. It's unclear if Google will keep making the headsets in the United States after that — this could be a trial run — but for a company that's stood in Apple's shadow for years, in terms of device manufacturing and buzz-building, it's a coup. After all, Apple announced it's own plan to invest $100 million in manufacturing Macs in the US. That news didn't leave people breathless in the way that Google Glass has, though. And for that, Google wins the day.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.