“Part marketer, part creative but mostly a geek” is how Google’s product marketing manager Aman Govil describes himself. At über cool geeky conferences like South by Southwest, his Advertising Arts team demonstrates how Google technology can be used to build brands. This year at SXSW, they demonstrated “Google Glass” (a computer mounted on a pair of eyeglasses, controlled by eye movement) and “The Talking Shoe” – a pair of high-top Adidas sneakers with an embedded accelerometer, gyroscope and Bluetooth device, that can broadcast the wearer’s movements into “funny, motivating and timely commentary” via his/her Google+ profile. An ideal tool for people who like to broadcast their every move, and clearly don’t have any privacy hang-ups.
These toyish tools are not new ideas but the backing by Google and their new smaller prototype designs have the media entranced this week. No one knows when a pair of Glass will be publicly available and for how much, and Google says they don’t plan to sell the sneakers. It’s all part of the on-going brand campaign for the search giant. The company tinkers with technology and promotes each device as a step forward for mankind. These tools are ostensibly designed to empower people – to help people find what their looking for even (or particularly) when they don’t know what it is. Google here espouses the ethos Steve Jobs once expressed while explaining why you can’t design products by focus groups: “People don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Showing them is, of course, exactly what Google Glass is designed to do. In the future we may all be “part marketer, part creative but mostly a geek.”