By John Yorke, president of creative agency Rain 43
Every week, it feels that I am confronted with "game-changers" and the declaration that a specific medium is doomed. Magazines are dead. The Internet is dead. TV is dead. Newspapers are dead. Mobile is dead. But nothing is really dead.
To borrow from "Animal Farm," all media are created equal. Some media are more equal than others. And in the advertising landscape, where media outlets are fighting for every dollar, the lines are blurred as to what constitutes a single media channel. So with the new trend of "wearable computing," who gets to own this as part of their medium? Is it Internet? Is it mobile? Is it video? The truth is we, as marketers, can no longer divide the world by medium. Consumers are looking to access all content and applications via various technologies; they don’t care about classifications of media.
There is a major amalgam coming through "wearable technology" and Google is at the forefront with Google Glass. The new headsets allow users to access a variety of web-based technologies and information through a heads up display. Organization and dissemination of content in true real-time — who else but Google would be the best to deliver this?
Skeptics are brushing off the device as an annoyance that will be clunky and buggy. But before writing this off as an over-hyped gadget, keep in mind how annoying, expensive and buggy the early days of computers, cell phones or even the Internet were. This is day one and the opportunities are endless.
But, this isn't a slam dunk for Google … yet. Google needs to figure out voice command technology — and before we just overlook this, does anyone remember how Siri by Apple was going to change the world? There's also a huge need for an open technology that will allow developers to create relevant and flawless technologies.
What Google is really facing is a challenge it has never had. Matter. This will be its first real venture into selling an actual product you can touch. Everything else has been data or a re-selling of the Android system through partners. How is Google going to do with 1-800, packaging, returns and repairs?
Remember, Google is a loved brand, but it doesn't charge consumers a dollar for its service. As far as consumers, they get information in an efficient and timely manner, all for free. Now that people will be laying out hundreds of dollars for an actual product, it is anybody's guess on how Google's retailing process is going to work and succeed.
This is a gradual play in a world that demands instant success. Luckily, Google has time, patience, and most importantly, money on its side. But a closing lesson from Orwell's fable, "Man serves the interests of no creature except himself." So Google, make sure you get it right, or those beloved fans and consumers of yours, well, they will leave in the blink of an eye and leave you shattered.
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