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How Google Glass Got Its Catchphrase

Or how "Ok, Glass" was almost "Device, Please!"

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How do you talk to a machine?

It's a peculiar question, and one the Google Glass team struggled with while designing the headset. Social networks and online communities have the luxury of developing their own languages over time, but when it comes to launching hardware, it's a crucial decision that could have serious consequences. Google has grand ambitions for Glass to be an important, paradigm-shifting product, but to have even the faintest chance of that happening, it's crucial that every element of the experience feels natural.

Posted today to her Google+ page, Glass product marketing manager Amanda Rosenberg explained how she came up with Glass' catchphrase, "Ok, Glass" almost by accident. According to the post, it was "the only phrase I could think of."

Rosenberg also included a list of "suggestions" for glass activation words, some of which seem to be more than a little tongue-in-cheek, including:

Listen up Glass
Hear me now
Let me use Glass to
Go Go Glass
Clap on
Device, please
3, 2, 1...
Glass alive
Pew pew pew

If Google Glass manages to really catch on, its already well-known activation command, "ok, Glass" could end up being uttered by millions of bespectacled humans every day. If not, it will be awarded a plot in the graveyard of discarded tech jargon.

While it's quite possible, users could force Google to change its "hot word" — comments on Rosenberg's post already mention the possibility of a customized catchphrase — "Ok, Glass" feels about as natural as talking to a machine can (even if it does sound a bit like talking down to a younger sibling).

Regardless, it's heartening to see the company didn't go with "pew pew pew."

Charlie Warzel is a senior writer for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York. Warzel reports on and writes about the intersection of tech and culture.

Contact Charlie Warzel at

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