Now that Google Glass is a much-talked about, much-hyped tech thing, the pseudo-clones have already started to emerge, meaning it's only time before there's a Google Glass variation for everyone and everything. Dogs already have their very own wearable computers, and so do "porn enthusiasts," who need a separate pair because Google has banned sex videos from its version. And this is just the beginning, Google Glass Regular just came out a few months ago and already "companies and researchers are trying to decide what will be the next big breakthrough in wearable technology," Technology Review's Rachel Metz notes. Not all of these things will go on people (or animals or plants) faces, but no doubt we will declare them the Google Glass of ________.
Some of the spawn of Google Glass will indeed look a lot like computer glasses. Like the porn version, which has more of a goggle look, but at least slides onto one's face. Inevitably, however, things that aren't glasses, but some sort of vaguely related wearable tech, will get the association, too—even if it's undeserving. Google Glass for dogs, for example, is a sensor that dogs wear to communicate with their owners. There's nothing really Glass-like about that.
But, since all these inventions want the name recognition and promise that Google offers, some of these things will be a huge reach, both in theory and in name. First, we'll get a lot of useless Google Glasses of ______ that nobody needs or wants. Already Google Glass for "porn enthusiasts" is questionable. Who knows what's next: Google Glass for babies?
But also, inventions that have nothing at all to do with Google Glass will get the distinction. That's what happens when a new technology all of a sudden gets popular or known. Have you seen what has happened to Airbnb? There's an Airbnb for everything, including home-cooked meals. Sometimes the Airbnb of X really is just like Airbnb, where people rent out their personal things, like cars. And other times, not so much, as Quartz's Christopher Mims pointed out on Twitter. "Got to love how "The AirBnB of [anything]" is mostly about finding efficiency by avoiding regulation."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.
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