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Human Technology: Reflections on My Tour of Google LA Office

Last week, I visited Google LA Office with a friend.  We went there to pick up his Google Glass.  Supposedly, I should talk about my experience with the Glass, right?  But in fact, I would rather share with you my reflections on the tour.

I arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule, but two Google associates had been waiting for me and my friend in front of the office.  They told me they were in the Google Glass Team.  In the LA office, there are about 20 members in the team.  Each team member is also part of the 3000+ “explorers” selected by Google to test the prototype.  For now, the Glass is only available (and tested) in the U.S. market.  Google seeks feedback from the explorers for product improvement.  Google also analyzes what people talk about the product on the internet.  During our visit, the associates spent two hours showing us step-by-step how to operate the Glass.  We were encouraged to spend as much time as we wanted until we felt comfortable with the Glass.


If you really want to hear my true opinions about the Glass, I must admit that I am not very excited about the current prototype.  It needs more improvement before it can become the next big thing.  I, however, was impressed with this innovative idea and Google’s effort on the product. 

Based on visits to Google (I also toured the Google Campus in Mountain View two years ago), it is not difficult for me to figure out why this company is doing so well in the market.  Today, almost 80% of smartphones being shipped in the global market operate on the Android platform.  As of August 17, 2013 (Saturday), Google’s stock is selling at $856.25 a share; Apple and Microsoft are selling for $503.10 and $31.80 a share respectively. 

What makes a company successful?  Besides other contributing factors, it appears to me that a company’s success must root in its ability to provide useful solutions for human beings.  Microsoft was very successful when it introduced Windows, allowing people to “communicate with” computers using the easy-to-understand “human languages.”  Apple became the most admired company when it introduced iPhone and iPad.  Today, both companies are still doing very well, but investors are showing concerns of their future.  At a point when a company is no longer able to provide innovative approaches to solve real-life problems, the halo around the company fades.  I am glad to see Google is very serious about the Glass and is actively seeking feedback from customers.  Because of that, I am expecting to see big improvement of the Glass soon.   

In the end, I would like share with you a 60 Minutes Interview by CBS.  It features Bill Gates on how he views technology and innovation.  I hope more companies and institutions will focus on research that helps people solve real-life problems.  Regardless how “small” a problem may look like, an innovative solution may have big impact to people’s lives.

Do you believe innovation is the key for success in business?  If so, where do innovative ideas come from?   



Relevant discussion:

To check out more pictures about my tours of Google, please visit:
Facebook Album - Tour of Google LA Office

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