On April 15 Google is giving consumers a chance to buy Google Glass for one day only. The tech giant is betting that people not only will shell out $1500 for Google Glass, but build buzz about the wearable technology. However, the product rollout could be marred by what might be a brewing crisis for Google.
On Friday night, a journalist covering local Google protests and wearing Google Glass was attacked in San Francisco when a woman yelled out “Glass” and snatched the device off his face, according to Mashable. It was the second time in two months that someone was attacked for wearing Google Glass.
And on Sunday, Kevin Rose, a partner at Google Ventures, reportedly posted a message on Instagram saying that anti-Google protestors had shown up at his home and handed out a flyer to his neighbors saying, “Kevin Rose: Parasite!”
The latest incidents follow a series of protests in the Bay Area against Google employee shuttle buses. The protests have focused on Google as being the engine of a technology boom that’s accelerated gentrification throughout San Francisco and spiked housing costs.
While the one-day sale of Google Glass will get the obligatory coverage among the major media outlets, the story revolving around anti-Google protests is much more complicated.
If the protests continue to proliferate, Google will eventually have to respond one way or the other. The protests cause little threat to Google’s top and bottom lines, of course, but perception is often reality. And the media love David vs. Goliath scenarios.
Tuesday’s product rollout of Google Glass is just a tease. How long before you can buy Google Glass at any time? Yet Google product rollouts will come and go, with varying degrees of success or failure.
Protecting the brand’s reputation, engaging in community relations, and expressing concern about the safety of consumers wearing Google Glass, probably requires more heavy lifting.
Follow Matthew Schwartz on Twitter: @mpsjourno1