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I’m really excited to be able to share this historic moment -  the first and only time I have written a pleasant/serious email to +Mat Balez (Glass Product Manager) or to anyone for that matter. Coincidentally, this email also includes the birth of the phrase ‘OK Glass’.   
 
Here’s the story of the lead up to that email.
 
[Some scenes have been fabricated for entertainment purposes]
 
I was invited out to dinner with Mat and his wife. Mat had already been working on Glass for a while, but at this time, Glass did not have a marketing team. I saw this as a chance to both impress Mat with my insightful marketing prowess* and get a free dinner. The dinner went very well. I relayed several hilarious anecdotes. So hilarious were these anecdotes, they rendered Mat and his wife breathless and thus, unable to fully enjoy the food before them**.

As the dinner drew on I realised that I was yet to flex my massive marketing guns in Mat’s tiny face***. I was saddened by this thought. I desperately wanted to be a part of Glass marketing (even though it didn’t exist yet) and I needed to do something to prove my worth.
 
In the car on the way back, Mat told me about how the team had been working on the “hotword” for Glass.  I must confess, I did not know what “hotword” meant. Did I ask what it meant? No. Did I nod whilst looking pensive? You bet your glass I did. As I listened to Mat, I quickly* * * * deduced that he was referring to the phrase that sets off the Glass menu. He then asked me if I had any ideas for the hotword. In that moment the only phrase I could think of was ‘OK Glass’. I didn’t tell him straightaway though. Instead, I continued to look pensive and muttered something about ‘looking into it’ just to appear as though I was going to put more than 3 seconds of work into it.
 
When I got home, I tried my best to think of something else, anything else so that I could at least have a few options to send to Mat. Alas, I could not think of any others. I’ve been fortunately cursed with a one-track mind. So, I decided to put all my Glass eggs in one basket and send over a rationale for ‘OK Glass’ (below is the actual email I sent). A week later, it was implemented, at which point I asked Mat when I should start but apparently that’s ‘not really how it works’. I interviewed a week later and have been terrorising the Glass team ever since.  
 
Now, you’re probably wondering ‘What were the other choices the team had before OK Glass?’ Well wonder no more! I just asked Mat to send me over the list of suggestions, like literally, just now as I write this. Ok, I just saw the list and there is no way I could not share some of these gems.
 
Here are a few of my favourites:
 
Listen up Glass
Hear me now
Let me use Glass to
Go Go Glass
Clap on
Device, please
3, 2, 1...
Glassicus
Glass alive
Pew pew pew
 
Coming up with the phrase was the easy part. Figuring out if it would work, was another story. There’s a whole team at Glass who worked very hard testing and implementing it before it was adopted. It’s hugely exciting to hear “OK Glass” being used today. That said, ‘Device, please’ is growing on me.
 
*Dramatisation
**Dramatisation
***Not a dramatisation
****Took a while to
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112 comments
 
Hah, pretty cool to hear the story +Amanda Rosenberg 

No doubt this has been / will be integrated into other google products thanks to you :D such as the Google Search announcement with "Ok, Google"

Cool stuff. Nice Job!
 
this is great! long time ago i wrote about how google was lacking a personal approach to its "voice commands" and compared it to apple's approach with siri (http://www.uxmindset.com/2011/11/between-apple%e2%80%99s-siri-and-google%e2%80%99s-voice-actions-there-is-wilson/).

i have now a new article that i am pitching to some blogs that talks about how google turned this table around. it's called "OK Google, you beat Siri". if anyone is interested in publishing it i can share the manuscript, just hit me up at cyrillo@ciandt.com
 
That's awesome!! Thanks for sharing this.
 
Good choice. "OK" is understood in many languages, doesn't occur regularly in conversations, probably has good phonemes for the recognizer, and doesn't seem like something that would be obnoxious or silly the nth time you say it out loud. P.S. I love hearing these bits of behind the scenes Google. Thanks for sharing.
 
We almost had Go Go Glass. Damn. 
 
I do feel though, that the number one missing feature of Glass is the ability to replace the hotword. If a device is truly personal, you have your own name for it.
 
thats super cool, just think when glass is a common product youll hear people walking around saying a phrase you thought up :)
 
+Jake Weisz It sounds like the Moto X will have this capability, so it will probably come to Glass too.
 
+Nick Altmann I did hear that. But it hasn't seem to hit Google at large yet. Or maybe it won't be a Moto X thing, and it's just a Next Version of Android thing, being reported with the Moto X because that's the device they're testing it on.
 
That's really awesome to hear the back story, +Amanda Rosenberg! It sounds like you have some Bragging Rights worthy material there. Already thousands of people are using the phrase to utilize their Glass device, and one day there will be millions. It will be sort of like +Chris Messina's invention of the #hashtag . Congrats! :)

On a side note, imagine how nice we'd also sound if we had to ask nicely for Glass to do things with "device, please." It would be great if we had to say "thank you, device" to turn it off or put it to sleep.
 
Ha, I like "Device, please". 
Lots of scope for easter eggs with the hotwords that got away!
 
All this time I thought the Glass folks were just big fans of Radiohead :D
 
My only concern would be with the popularly held belief that OK comes from the first world war and was used to mean zero kills. So OK Glass means Zero Kills Glass. If you ever remove the OK..... I shudder from the consequences.
 
Voice command systems should be activated with commands in the forms of short prayers.

I plan on changing the activation command of whatever SR/VC NUI I use to something like "Heavenly Father".

I often wonder if I would eventually break the first two commandments by doing that as these systems become more powerful and complex. :).
 
I am a big fan of OK Glass +Amanda Rosenberg, good job. I remain incomplete, however. The Star Trek nerd inside me cries every time I can't say "Computer" to new things that can act on my voice :) 
 
I would totally vote for "Go Go Glass" or "Computer" or "Glitch"
 
Feature request: change the second part of the "OK Glass" hotphrase.

I need it to be able to respond to "OK Jarvis".
 
Glad they asked Amanda and not some stiff, upper-class Englishman. We may have been stuck with I say, old chap [+ user-defined keyword].
 
I hold you responsible.. shame, the world could've been a much better place with 'pew pew pew' all over
Mat Balez
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For the record, my face is not that tiny. Maybe the tiny side of average. 
 
Not only that but you created OK Google too !!!!!!
 
Although it would be a little too long, it would have been great to hear everybody call out "go go google glass" all the time, like, on the bus, in line at the supermarket checkout, what have you.
 
Hahaha, amazing story. I'm glad you choose "ok, glass" because there other are just terrible haha
 
I would guess that the issue with replacing a hotword is a support issue as well as a technical limitation.

Technical Limitation on hotwording:
As mentioned in "The end of search as we know it" part of the #io13   keynote (and related sessions at io), hotwording needs to be something that is extremely easy to recognize so it can not only be done entirely offline and fast, but if you hard code in the engrams to match a particular hotword it can be incredibly low power as well.  If people choose their own phrases they will invariably pick things that are hard for the machine to understand and require that the mic always be hot and listening, which is less than ideal.  

Also on the power consumption issue.  people will be likely to choose a word (like say "Computer") that is something that is actually said.  The reason it is a phrase "OK Glass" or "OK Google" is that it is a phrase that you are unlikely to say in normal conversation.  If people used "Computer" because of Star Trek, then every time they are talking about their computers (with glass on), boom, glass springs to action, using more power and annoying the user by acting when it shouldn't.  

Even with "OK Glass" I find glass activating anytime someone says the word Glass because it doesn't seem to care if you say "OK Glass", or if you say "That's OK, I'll ask Glass" (extra words seem to still trip the pattern)

Support Issue on custom hotwording:
Personalization always comes with support issues, the close to a standard a device interaction is, the easier it is to support when things don't work the way you expect it to.

Don't get me wrong, I really would love for the option to use another hotword other than "OK Glass" but I understand why (At least for now) we cannot.
 
Custom hotwords would be awesome! 
 
I use "OK GLaDOS", which also works. ;)

+Nick Moline Sure, being standard is easier. But I don't want to be spewing marketing buzzphrases every time I use my device. It's why you'll never hear me "Ok Glass", "Ok Google", or "Ok Chrome" in public.
 
And being standard actually has it's own problems... triggering multiple Glass units, which happens on occasion now, and later, once everyone in the planet has one, will be unmanageable.
 
+Jake Weisz I don't particularly care about the marketing buzzphrase aspect, and I certainly would love to geek out by using some named computer from sci-fi history (Top 5 in no particular order being: Computer, Glitch, Selma, Jarvis and Kitt), and I get that at the moment it isn't a true hotword either.  XBox One for example is capable of being in power save mode and still understanding "XBox On"  But in order for it to be a true hotword, it would have to be something that could be understood with next to no power use.
 
Well, it's claimed the Moto X can do it. So the question is.... does it drain battery like no other, or is it possible  to reprogram the hotword in a manner that won't suck power.
 
I'm very curious about the Moto X thing, although considerably dissapointed that the X is apparently not going to be stock
 
There are a few other examples in fiction other than Star Trek's "Computer!":
1) Prikazivat - Larry Niven's "The Integral Trees" and "The Smoke Ring" -- supposedly Russian for "Command". Kind of awkward.
2) Hark - Linda Nagata's series which includes "Deception Well" and "Vast" -- it's a relatively unique word, only used with "Herald Angels"
(thought I had another, lost it)
 
+Joel Finkle, I don't even know how to pronounce Prikazivat though I like the idea.  Might be difficult for a hotword algorithm, as for Hark, monosyllable words tend to be problematic because to an algorithm they sound too much like other things "Lark", "Stark", "Dark", "Bark", "Nark", "Fark" would probably all set it off, plus we'd have to all turn off our glass at Christmas time...
 
I absolutely adored this story!!! Good LUCK Amanda!!!
 
+Jake Weisz I'm not saying stark is great, but getting updates from google when google releases them, not when a manufactuer gets around to updating their framework is the most annoying thing in the world.  I had an HTC Evo, and when Jelly Bean came out I was still waiting for Ice Cream Sandwich, that is simply unacceptable to me.  Stock for me and updates when they are available, not years later.
 
+Nick Moline I'd rather wait for the updates that aren't beta versions. 4.2 probably convinced me to never buy a Nexus device.
 
Also why I refuse to go to Verizon or back to Sprint, cause even the nexus devices on CDMA networks seem to be really delayed on software updates cause they develop for GSM first
 
4.2 was great, sure there were bugs to fix, but none of them were horrible for me
 
In the IT world, upgrade impatience is foolishness. Verizon actually released 4.2.2 in record time, after the two updates it took Google to get 4.2 to a stage that any sane company would call "release ready".
 
Oxford British would be "Hark, now". 
 
+Nick Moline I spoke to some Nexus owners who simply stated their Nexus devices were rendered "useless" by 4.2, and some who even flashed their device back to 4.1.

"Works for me" is not the requirement for a product to be ready for release.
 
interesting, exactly what was "useless" about 4.2, I didn't encounter anybody complaining about 4.2 when it came out in my tech circle, we were all very happy with it.  Sure the omission of December from putting birthdays in contacts was annoying (and a really stupid mistake) but it didn't render the device useless by any stretch of the imagination.  

On tablets the multi-user feature added in 4.2 was excellent and worked very well, google now worked almost immediately and very well, sharing to google tv worked great, actionable notifications worked great, on the haul 4.2 was an excellent release.  

And I'm hard pressed to remember any bugs that caused any significant problems.  Battery life could have been better, but it wasn't really any worse than 4.1 was and 4.2.1 was a significant improvement to battery life.

I would also still argue that timely software updates are important and I get that with the Nexus program and I don't with other devices running vendor bloatware.  The Nexus S (from 2010) was upgradable all the way to Jelly Bean (and was as soon as Jelly Bean came out), while the HTC Evo (also released in 2010) which was a front-running phone for Sprint never made it past Gingerbread
 
I would go for a two-syllable word: 'Hearken' or 'Prithee'.
 
+Nick Moline Bluetooth was the largest one. Lockscreen widgets are still non-functional on my Nexus 7. I've stumped Googlers with it.

Android devices actually should not get system updates, at all. It degrades their performance. Every Android I've ever bought performed better on the version it shipped with.
 
Thanks for sharing this Amanda. It's so cool to see how things all come together one person at a time on a project like this. Everyone has a story no matter how small, or how big.
 
+Marko Bomyer The origin of "ok" is unknown. l have heard many versions over the years, but not yours. ( I'm not saying you are wrong.) To see a few, goto wikipedia.org and search Okay. Then select Proposed Etymologies.
 
I think Ok Google would be a bit more "universal"... But if glass becomes ubiquitous it will hardly matter (flashbacks to apple announcing iPod [when they awkwardly refused to call it the or a iPod... Just simply iPod])
 
I kinda wish one of the suggestions was "blathering blatherskite"

+10 internet points if you remember where that's from.
 
One of my favorites comes from Leo Laporte of This Week in Google. When someone is staring at you with Glass on, you say: "Are you glassing me?"
 
My first instinct is always "hey glass" to be honest. Forget and still try it sometimes as it seems more natural as a initiator or engagement term. "Ok" feels like more of an affirmative to me. Still cool, make the tech like talking to a human and you're on the right track.
 
Do they use those glass advantages to moto x recently? I'm so sure will sell my nexus device and replace it with moto x then.
 
+Amanda Rosenberg Funny stuff. The best part is your close.:

'Would love to discuss further or (if I'm way off with this one) never talk about it again.'

An intriguing blend of pluck and neuroses, with just a soupçon of endearing quirkiness. Very nice. :-)
 
That SNL skit would have been funnier if it had been, "Device, please."
Phil Wu
 
if there is an update in the future to enable a user defined hot word, i wonder if it has to be a word or if it can be any recognizable sound.  i want to either cluck like a chicken or bear roar to activate my glass.
 
Totally missed the geek cred opportunity to suggest "sudo".
 
Not using "By the power of gray-skull" was really a missed opportunity.
 
That really was a great post. Thanks for sharing, and congratulations on a pretty brilliant UX idea. 
 
lol, I love "Pew pew pew"...
 
i dnt knw how long before we could get one here in India...all the crazy things i see in day could record them....have access to internet in overcrowded trains where you cant even lift your hand...that would be superb
Dreas H
 
+Amanda Rosenberg  "Beam me up, Scotty". Funny story! Looking for the [user-defined keyword].
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Go go gadget copter! Go to gadget boots! Go go gadget glasses! When will our shoes be our phones?
Jim Jam
 
That'll do donkey, that'll do!
 
I'd hate to be the person who buys these when they're available for the mass market and then realize a year down the road that they're not going anywhere. 
Jim Jam
 
Glasses have been and always will be on the face, they are going places baby, just not where people want them to go! Btw, can I get a pair of these as sunglasses? I'll pay $50, provided my insurance will cover it!
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It would be nice if we could choose, mine would be "Jarvis"
 
Tnx for sharing Amanda ! Iconic to see how something that casual at that point will go into history.
 
i vote for pew pew pew! well, it would have been fun.
 
Way too long to read! Sorry :(
Jim Jam
 
Guilherme, would the first name be Jeff?
 
"OK" is an OK idea.  On the heels of "Valley Girl" talk.  Why not have a contest to create some distinctive words that GLASS will understand (through distinctive, linguistic recognition of certain letters or words--within most to all dialects and accents).  Google-created words would be in keeping with how Google does things, and owners can have their own language, which in public would catch attention, to say the least.  In any case Amanda, congrats to your wonderful experience and knowing that you had some influence on the development of this system.  
...I guess "HAL-GLASS"  would be out.  "....daisy...daisy...."  :-)
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Ok, +Amanda Rosenberg , but the user customization is a must for any Google product.
Ok, Viewie, where is a good bar near by?
 
"Go Go Glass" LOL !!!

I think the "Ok, + [user defined keyword]" is the best, and it's should be in all the +Google products. So if i choose "Ok, Fluffy" Google should remember this, and use that hot word in my android phone too, and in the Chrome (In the PC), etc.

+Amanda Rosenberg, think about it. It will give a personal feeling to the device, plus prevent other people to start my device accidentally (because they do not know what's the hot word that i choose).
 
"Pew pew pew"?!? :)  I do agree that "Go go Glass" would have been cool.  Maybe in the next release there will be user-definable hotwords.
 
Ok, Amanda.

Ok, Glass.  "Inflate Pontoons".

I needed this one last week when, sadly, my little Slate fell into two feet of water and didn't make it out alive.  Taken by the undertow, I think I may have been only the 2nd "loser" to Lose a Glass.  I am hoping for sympathy from Google, and have initiated a petition.  My hope is that you can use my incident to come up with a Glass Preserver like Chums makes for glasses.  They have one called neo-megafloat that will float 3 oz.   Even if Glass had floated for a tiny bit, I could have probably rescued it, as there were other people around that were trying to help me.

I hope the Glass team will add this as an accessory for the people who will definitely be around water frequently.  Kids or dogs tails could wag a Glass into the water accidentally, or Kramer-like physical awkwardness on a boat party when passing the Glass to share with friends could even fumble Glass into the water.  Not everyone is going to be using it for surgery and education, so there will be a fair share of Explorers that push the boundaries and GoPro the Glass.  I like it better than GoPro right now because it is easier to use by anyone, whereas GoPro is something you really have to mount and use a manual for... it's too many pieces.  Glass is one piece, simple.

Anyway, I hope you will help me present my case to the team, and here is my petition, which is fun to see what my friends wrote in their comments.  Cheers to you!

http://www.change.org/petitions/google-glass-please-provide-me-with-a-replacement-product-for-continued-beta-testing-and-help-make-glass-unsinkable

-Colleen
 
It would be geeky as hell, but I'd love to see the phrase 'Computer' followed by Star Trek-esque computer beep to acknowledge activation. ;)
 
"Pew pew pew take a picture" - Love it!
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