The idea of a face-mounted computer is at the very forefront of consumer technology but since its launch, a lot of the discussion around Google Glass tends to be one of image. The company took some significant steps to make sure its wearable tech innovation wasn’t dorked to death by enlisting the likes of Warby Parker but it seems there’s still more than a whiff of doubt that it will catch broader appeal any time soon. The recent, very public, break-up between Glass and perhaps its biggest proponent outside the Googleplex hasn’t helped.
Robert Scoble says he realized, after witnessing a social shaming of Glass wearers at Coachella, that the technology in Google’s hands lacks empathy. But a new campaign aimed at nonprofits could help the brand in that cause. In its latest video, Google introduces us to Sabita Malla, a World Wildlife Fund senior researcher in Nepal using Glass to help research and keep track of rhinos. It shows how the device has helped cut the work of recording and filing research in half.
The image of a wildlife conservation researcher is a far better one for the brand than a pair of dudes who paid $1,500 for a pair of Glass(es) catching the Skrillex set.
The WWF received a $5 million grant from Google in 2012, and the company is now encouraging other nonprofits to get into Glass by sharing how the technology could help them make the world a better place. Individuals who work at US-based nonprofits are eligible to get a pair of Glass, a trip to a Google office for training, a $25,000 grant, and access to developers to help make their Glass project a reality. Applications are due May 20th and five winners will be picked by a team of Googlers, along with the Glass Explorers at World Wildlife Fund, Samasource, and DoSomething.org. Chances are “chill at Coachella” won’t quite cut it.