This piece is written by Bill Burnett, D2M | Design to Matter co-founder and Executive Director of the Design Program at Stanford University. He was so inspired by the Project Glass demo he wrote this on vacation!
The recent demonstration of Project Glass at the Google I/O developer’s conference last week has resulted in a slew of comments in the blogosphere about the product and what this technology might be worth someday. However, with the intro of this interesting product prototype (limited availability until 2014) I detected a major shift in Silicon Valley that I think is the really big story. With one awesome demo and a clear vision of the future Google has replaced Apple as the Valley’s Coolest Tech Company. Let me explain:
The game is called “owning the future narrative” and it is always about personality and vision. Steve Jobs owned this narrative for almost two decades. If it was new, cool, and must have, Steve told you about it first, and it made his company the most valuable on the Planet.
On Thursday, June 28, 2012, that crown passed to Sergey and Larry at Goggle. In addition to the technology, which is awesome, they demonstrated that Google is a company that can build a network that can stream a live parachute jump, then get permission to land the jumpers on the Moscone Center roof, and then ride stunt bikes and rappel Mission Impossible figures off the side of Moscone and deliver this technology to Sergey on stage. A tour de force of technical wizardry, public relations, and raw political power. Could Tim Cook even think of such a demo? And would he look half as bad-ass as Sergey in those glasses? I think not. Sporting a new beard and a mocking smile, Sergey looks like a mad scientist (he is) or a Russian super villain from a Bond movie (which hopefully he is not). He has a lot to learn about stage presence and he desperately needs a vocal coach to help him overcome the unfortunate whiny quality of his voice. But he and his company laid out a vision of the future that has Apple nowhere in sight. It’s about time someone beat Apple at its own game. Nice job Google.