Culture

When your Google Glass competitor sounds like a Mideast militant group

It seemed like such a good name at the time, did Icis. And then suddenly it didn't. So a challenger to Google Glass must now find a new name.

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It's not a good idea for a stylish product to share a name with a militant group. LaForge Optical

They looked quite sexy. They looked like normal glasses. Which meant they looked nothing like Google Glass.

Quite a few people were excited when a competitor to Google's high-tech specs emerged in February.

At the time, LaForge Optical's founder and CEO, Corey Mack, told me: "We focused on creating a device that people don't mind being seen in."

People liked it. The company raised $1.1 million to take its creation to production.

As time went by, a tiny drawback emerged. The glasses were called Icis.

True, it's not the same spelling as the militant group in Iraq. It sounds the same, though. So LaForge is now having to ice it.

Mack told me: "We started receiving e-mails about the name this summer from some of our supporters. Some were wondering if we were going to change the name. Others wanted us to keep the name the same. When I became aware of the horrible videos [the militant group was] posting on Twitter and other sites, I knew the name was toast."

When the Icis name was first attached to these glasses, it merely referred to an Egyptian goddess. In fact, because the company began in chilly Rochester, NY, the founders hit on the name because it sounded a little like "ices."

And Icis isn't the first brand to have this issue. In September, mobile service Isis Wallet changed its name to Softcard in order to create some distance between itself and the militant group.

So what of the new name? Mack would only reveal: "Our new product name will merely be a combination of letters from my last name and our lead investor's last name."

I hope they've researched every possible connotation of those letters.