Glorious near miss: 'OK Glass' was almost 'Clap On'

Oh, to imagine if the voice command for Google Glass had been one of Google's now admitted alternatives. Yes, "Pew, pew, pew" was even one.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read
Clap on, brother. Google Developers/YouTube Screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Very soon, you will be walking down the street and your ears will be deafened by a cacophony of robots uttering the same two words: "OK, Glass."

You will think that these are real people. Instead, these will be former humans taken over to the dark side by the idea that wearing Google Glass somehow represents progress.

There will be confusion. A bartender will ask one of them if she wants another drink. On hearing "OK Glass," one will materialize, to the rabid consternation of the Glass-wearer, who was merely communicating with her device.

When all this comes to pass, please be grateful that you aren't being assaulted by thousands of people shouting: "Clap On."

For this tidbit, thanks go to a fascinating blog post on Tuesday by Google Glass product marketing manager Amanda Rosenberg. In the post, she notes that "Clap On" was one of the finalists in the "find a hotword for Google Glass" competition.

Yes, Google Glass could have become synonymous with those late-night commercials for lights that you clap on and off. And -- for those of a troubled disposition -- with syphilis.

The list of finalists even included a quite blatant truncation of Verizon's most famous phrase. In this case: "Hear Me Now."

Another suggestion was "Go Go Glass."

Heads and eyes might independently roll at the idea that "Pew, Pew, Pew" was a strong consideration. Yes, humans might have all walked down the street sounding like little boys shooting their imaginary machine guns.

But that's the beauty of free association and creativity. You never know what's going to come out of your mouth.

For myself, I hope that -- ultimately -- people will have personalized hotwords. Everyone saying the same thing as they walk down the street is far too much like a political convention.

Why shouldn't your delicate, delightful pair of robot glasses respond to "Sindy" or "Brutus"?

Why shouldn't you be able to offer the order: "Fill my head with..."? Why shouldn't you be allowed to be playful and call your Google Glass "Brains" or "Halfwit" ?

If these things are the next step toward our personal freedom (captivity), we should surely be able to command them in our own way.

Given that the government will no doubt mandate that we must wear Google Glass in some near and painful future, I want the freedom to begin my every command with "Bartender...."