The story of the “Ok, Glass” phrase, and why it’s not “clap on,” “device, please” or “pew, pew, pew”

July 17, 2013
0 37 74 8

    Google Glass

    The history behind the “Ok, Glass” phrase used to activate the Google Glass voice commands has been recently shared by Glass Marketing Manager Amanda Rosenberg, who also revealed what other candidates were in place for the hotword.

    By now you may have heard “Ok, Glass” a few times when looking at Glass videos, especially if you’re on top of your tech news, so it only makes sense to see how Google chose the phrase.

    From the story Rosenberg was allowed to share with the world (including internal email screenshot below), she is responsible for coming up with the term.

    Interestingly, it all happened while she was trying to impress Glass Product Manager Mat Balez and score a marketing job with the Glass team – eventually that happened thanks to “Ok, Glass.”

    Ok, Glass, Google email

    “Ok,Glass” Google internal email (Click here for bigger version).

    The hotword – as the phrase is called – could have been a lot stranger with phrases like “clap on,” “device, please” and “pew, pew, pew” among the candidates.

    Here’s the story behind “Ok, Glass” as told by Rosenberg:

    I was invited out to dinner with Mat and his wife. Mat had already been working on Glass for a while, but at this time, Glass did not have a marketing team. I saw this as a chance to both impress Mat with my insightful marketing prowess* and get a free dinner. The dinner went very well. I relayed several hilarious anecdotes. So hilarious were these anecdotes, they rendered Mat and his wife breathless and thus, unable to fully enjoy the food before them**.

    As the dinner drew on I realised that I was yet to flex my massive marketing guns in Mat’s tiny face***. I was saddened by this thought. I desperately wanted to be a part of Glass marketing (even though it didn’t exist yet) and I needed to do something to prove my worth.

    In the car on the way back, Mat told me about how the team had been working on the “hotword” for Glass. I must confess, I did not know what “hotword” meant. Did I ask what it meant? No. Did I nod whilst looking pensive? You bet your glass I did. As I listened to Mat, I quickly* * * * deduced that he was referring to the phrase that sets off the Glass menu. He then asked me if I had any ideas for the hotword. In that moment the only phrase I could think of was ‘OK Glass’. I didn’t tell him straightaway though. Instead, I continued to look pensive and muttered something about ‘looking into it’ just to appear as though I was going to put more than 3 seconds of work into it.

    When I got home, I tried my best to think of something else, anything else so that I could at least have a few options to send to Mat. Alas, I could not think of any others. I’ve been fortunately cursed with a one-track mind. So, I decided to put all my Glass eggs in one basket and send over a rationale for ‘OK Glass’ (below is the actual email I sent). A week later, it was implemented, at which point I asked Mat when I should start but apparently that’s ‘not really how it works’. I interviewed a week later and have been terrorising the Glass team ever since.

    Now, you’re probably wondering ‘What were the other choices the team had before OK Glass?’ Well wonder no more! I just asked Mat to send me over the list of suggestions, like literally, just now as I write this. Ok, I just saw the list and there is no way I could not share some of these gems.

    Here are a few of my favourites:

    Listen up Glass
    Hear me now
    Let me use Glass to
    Go Go Glass
    Clap on
    Device, please
    3, 2, 1…
    Glassicus
    Glass alive
    Pew pew pew

    Coming up with the phrase was the easy part. Figuring out if it would work, was another story. There’s a whole team at Glass who worked very hard testing and implementing it before it was adopted. It’s hugely exciting to hear “OK Glass” being used today. That said, ‘Device, please’ is growing on me.

    *Dramatisation
    **Dramatisation
    ***Not a dramatisation
    ****Took a while to

    That said, Google Glass is still many months away from public consumption, so if you’re already a fan you’ll have to keep waiting.

    0 37 74

    Comments

    • Nathalie De Clercq

      Very interesting!!! Yet another little trivia point to add to the many social conversations that wind around my #DoubleGs :P

    • Piyush

      “OK” got it now ;-)

    • AsakuraZero

      pew pew pew ! that would be the best way to call up glass

    • End in sight

      I would have thought that “um” is more common than “ok”….but I guess “um, glass” doesn’t sound as nice.

      Or what about just “glass?”…with a high inflection at the end.

      Actually, I think this functionality will end up being able to be customized, because, really, we all will want to be able to determine what to say to activate our glasses, phones, whatever. Doesn’t it seem that that is inevitable for a “custom” kind of firm like Google?

      • Grman Rodriguez

        If it were just one word it would be activated by accident too often

    • OMGgary

      !.

    • mrband

      I would have liked ‘you moron’, but possibly would have got excess of attention… :p

    • John-Phillip Saayman

      Pew pew pew.. And device, please, sounds the best

    Popular

    Latest