SAN FRANCISCO - Did Google mean to only give Google Glass to a bunch of dorky white dudes? A beautiful black woman sports them in the ads yet the female gender seems to be entirely without the actual product.
Just peek into any random Silicon Valley café for the nearest "glasshole" and that pasty white image of some guy is sure to be burned into your mind. The stereotype is only amplified in this White Men Wearing Google Glass Tumblr.
Project Glass sent out approximately 1,000 items to tech influencers over the past couple of weeks, mostly to men. The now iconic photo of blogger Robert Scoble wearing them in the shower that's been plastered all over the Internet only furthers the point: Where the ladies at?
"Glass is being made available primarily to developers who signed up to our Explorer program at our I/O Developer conference nearly a year ago," Google spokesman Chris Dale says. "Glass is designed by and for people from all walks of life and we hope everyone will have a chance to enjoy it when we launch it more widely to the public."
To be sure, I/O attendees are predominately white males in their 20s, 30s and 40s, so it's not surprising that many of the early Explorers who signed up for Glass at I/O last year are men. Glass sightings have intensified as Google prepares for its I/O developer conference in San Francisco next week.
Sure, boy nerds outnumber lady nerds 9 to 1 in Silicon Valley. And with tech geeks being the most likely early adopters, it makes sense to let them check out the product first. Surely, there are enough women out there equally influential and equally willing to give it a spin? Yet finding a lady showing them is ridiculously hard.
Though not impossible. Take developer Monica Wilkinson, one of the first to get the product. "I signed up at Google I/O over a year ago to get them," she says. "The price was really high ($1,500), but I really wanted to try them out." So the gal sprung for it. She says there are plenty of women that have them now, but the ratio is probably 70% male.
Wilkinson is also Latina. It's not just a lack of women, but also a lack of ethnic minorities wearing Google Glass. The point is, we're not getting reviews from a wide range of people here.
Those at Project Glass say they are working on reaching out to a more diverse group of "Explorers," as it calls them, with the #ifIhadGlass initiative on Twitter. But a quick scan shows mostly men talking about how to hack into and modify the product.
Marketing professional Elizabeth Ziegler Murphy sheepishly admitted she would never wear Google Glasses because they were too unattractive. "Why couldn't they put them in a frame style people actually wear?" she asks.
Tech blogger Christina Warren disagrees with those who say digital eye wear is not hot to wear. "Okay, I'm sorry guys but I actually look cute in Google Glass," she recently tweeted.
To be fair there are some women -- some people -- who just look good in everything. But just ask several other ladies about it and their answers are largely the same. They don't wear them for the exact reason we laugh at the men who do: They look dorky.
The surprising part here? A woman headed the design team, according to Google.
Wilkinson admitted disappointment in some women's reluctance to put them on. "I'd hate to think women would pass up the opportunity to adopt this new technology," she says. "It's really useful for everyone."
But this isn't really about women's reluctance to embrace their inner dork. It's about how Google chose who got the tech first. There's the elitist factor in all this that goes beyond just the lack of women.
Too bad Google chose to give the product only to those who signed up at a conference -- you know, mostly affluent, nerdy white guys.
(Copyright © 2013 USA TODAY)