Google Sees Future with Glasses

Google’s one-day sale of its long-awaited Glass, Internet-connected spectacles “for whatever you do, wherever you go, and whoever you are,” was either a huge success or serious let down, selling out its inventory even before the day was over.

Good news for Google, not so good news for those techies that want the latest gadget now, although the company has launched an “explorers” program, which gives certain developers, testers and early adopters the ability to buy the highly sought-after glasses.

The launch of Google Glass comes at a time when most Americans see the future filled with real-life science fiction.  According to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center, 59 percent of Americans are optimistic that coming hi-tech changes will make life better in the future.

It’s not all rosy, however.  Americans get a little spooked when it comes to robots, lab-grown human organs and teleportation devices, where a majority see these technological developments as changes for the worse.   Pew also found that a majority of Americans (53 percent) say it would be a change for the worse if most people wear implants or other devices “that constantly show them information about the world around them.”

Whether Pew’s new sci-fi data is a direct correlation to the launch of Google Glass remains unclear.  Early signs point to strong consumer demand for the new specs, even though the Mountain View, CA-based company seems to have focused more on a grassroots marketing approach than a big ad spend,  a strategy that appears to be working well.

Despite consumer hesitation toward humans wearing tech devices such as Google’s new glasses, the global search engine is on the right track.  It’s near impossible to stop the advancement of technology, good or bad.  There always will be those that embrace new technologies and those that are resistant.  In the end, everyone comes around sooner or later.  Just think, not too long ago grandparents were oblivious to the Internet, now they can’t get off Facebook.

Google is transitioning itself from a search engine to a super high-tech powerhouse.  In fact, much of the shift already has occurred with its mapping infrastructure, which literally connects the real world and the Internet making Google Glass possible.  Perhaps in the next decade we’ll see flying drones delivering online purchases or maybe a remote controlled automobile, but for right now Google Glass puts us one step closer to that reality.

2014: Year of the Woman? Well, Sort of …

Graphic: Book cover of 1978 science fiction anthology "Millennial Women."

The proverbial corporate glass ceiling may soon be officially shattered, at least according to new data from the Pew Research Center that shows a narrowing gender wage gap between men and women.

According to Pew Research’s analysis of census data, hourly earnings for women workers ages 25 to 34 were 93 percent of those of men in 2012, putting young women nearly on par with male contemporaries as they begin their careers.  Pew also reported that among all working men and women ages 16 and older, women’s hourly wages were 84 percent of those of men, a considerable improvement since 1980 when that number was only 64 percent.

On the contrary, these millennials don’t see opportunity ahead.  Pew revealed that even though young women are significantly more likely than their male counterparts to have completed a bachelor’s degree, they believe that women still lag behind men in pay and career advancement.

They may be right.  The survey found that women are much more likely than men to experience job disruptions because of family life, reporting that moms are three times more likely than dads to say being a working parent has made it harder to advance their careers.

Still, young professional women are a sought-after demographic among marketers.  Brands are creating life-long ad campaigns targeting millennials, hoping to develop stronger bonds with these young women as they mature, selling everything from health and beauty products to diapers to cars.

Madison Avenue can take a cue from Pew’s data, leveraging millennial hopes for a more level playing field when climbing the corporate ladder. The message can be aspiration, a global truth that doesn’t only pertain to young women.  Everyone wants to achieve something bigger and more profound.  For women, however, that inspiration may simply be the same paycheck as men, a plateau well within reach, yet still far away from their grasp.