Everyone’s talking about Google Glass. The upcoming ‘wearable’ tech that you put on your face, like glasses. It’s got a miniature screen that the wearer can see, and a camera embedded in the frame for taking pictures. Pundits have been analyzing the likelihood of such a device either going mainstream, or falling into obscurity.
But I think Google has made a mistake. Not with the device itself, but with the name.
Think about this! In the English language, we don’t have very many singular items that are referred to in the plural. “A pair of glasses” is one item (come now, don’t nitpick and try to argue that it’s a single frame housing two lenses), that is ALWAYS referred to in plural, in the same way that pants are.
“Where are my glasses?”
“They are on your head!”
“I can’t see without them.”
And of course, everyone’s favourite, “I have not brought my spectacles with me!”
And sunglasses aren’t immune to this either. Have you ever heard anyone say,
“I can’t go to the beach until I find my Ray-Ban.” Or,
“Grab your Oakley, it’s sunny outside.”
Don Henley didn’t sing about having your hair slicked back, and your Wayfarer on, baby.
But Google is going to change all that. With one revolutionary product, we are going to get all confused.
“Where is my glass?”
“Dude, it’s right in front of you, full of beer. Are you going to drink that, or keep playing with that stupid device that’s on your head?”
What if you have two pair, and you ask a friend to hand both pairs to you?
“Can you please hand me my Glasses? No, those are my sunglasses, I meant my Google Glasses.”
“Sure, here you go.”
“No, not just one, both of them.”
“No, both glasses.”
“But there’s two pairs here.”
“I only own two, not four! I meant both of them.”
“What did you hit me for?”
“Natural selection, dude.”
Even the way we activate ‘the device’ refers to the singular, by saying, “OK glass…” Maybe it just seemed silly for one to go around talking to more than one of their glasses, particularly ones that have no lenses. (I have no doubt that people talk to their beer glasses, however.)
So maybe it’s really a cunning plan by Google to correct one of those strange English language ‘exceptions’ that make the language that much harder when others are trying to learn it as a second language. Let’s just not be surprised when on the Google Glass instruction sheet, it refers to the applications for the device as ‘softwares’.
Up next, Microsoft invents the revolutionary Windows Pant.