There have been times over the past few years where I’ve thought that Google has hit their plateau in the consumer world. Some of their recent or semi-recent products haven’t been particularly innovative. In particular I’m thinking about, Google+ and Google Play. Both cool in their own right but by no means have they replaced or even stolen a small amount of my consumerism away from Facebook, LinkedIN, iTunes, or NetFlix. As an SEM, Google constantly impresses me with the capabilities of their advertising platform but the consumer stuff has seemed a little lackluster lately. Don’t get me wrong. I use Google for 95% of my Internet surfing and I’ve been with Gmail since day one but those are the only two products that I’ve widely adopted. Now that I’ve aired my grievances, I have to say that my mood has shifted with the viewing of one video.
Google Glass puts in all in perspective for me. The super nerd in me wants a pair today. I still don’t know if the style aesthetic works for me but that’ll be for me to decide when I see one on the shelf. After initially watching the 2:30 minute spot about a week ago, I instantly thought about all of the cool ways I could interact with my environment or people socially via these glasses. The video focused solely on the benefit to the individual in a non-confrontational way.
After marinating on it for a few days I started to think about all of the paid search benefits that were suspiciously left out of the video. Let’s not forget that the Google engine is driven by AdWords, they aren’t exactly a consumer electronics company (despite what the Nexus phones might have you believe). Don’t get me wrong. I believe the product announcement was done properly. You don’t exactly want to come out and say, “buy this so I can sell you more ads.” It’s just, despite all of the social aspects like integrating with Google+ that were on display, I have to believe that this device will be a direct to consumer platform, probably at a somewhat reasonable price, to deliver the ads that I want you to consume.
These are the ads that drive what I do. Without them, I don’t have a job. I want Google Glass to be released today and I want every consumer on the product to buy them. I don’t know how it will all work or even if this is truly part of the plan but I envision someone walking into an airport and being served an add for luggage or a neck roll pillow that’s 30% cheaper than the one you can buy in the airport. I see this as being a turning point for the local brick and mortar in online advertising. If someone asks, “where can I buy an umbrella,” the local shop that’s two blocks away would want to capture 100% of those live searches. If it’s raining and you need an umbrella you buy it from the nearest store possible, regardless of price (or you get wet). This is on demand information and product placement, even if it takes walking a block. I would want every product I sell in front of every person asking for it in a reasonable radius and I’d be willing to pay a premium for it.
I don’t know where others fall on this platform. I think it’s a risk. I even heard folks discussing it on the radio just a few days ago and the jury was still out amongst those in the discussion. For this product to really succeed, I believe it will need a wide adoption rate. If they can pull it off, I see Google+ stealing market share from Facebook while Google AdWords earns our marketing dollars by putting you in front of that which you desire. How do you penetrate the market with such an innovative product? I really don’t know if I’m ready to walk around with the Internet attached to my glasses. I mean, I still joke about people walking around with a Bluetooth attached to their ear. With that said, the capabilities of this device have me wanting one as a consumer and have me wishing you all buy one as a marketer.