OK Glass, let's change your hotword

Let's get ready to mumble!

Google Glass

You've got to love Google: according to Glass product marketing manager Amanda Rosenberg, Google Glass's hot word - the phrase you use to activate the device - could have been "glassicus", "hear me now" or "pew pew pew".

Google eventually went for the more sensible "OK Glass", but I can't help laughing at the thought of people jumping halfway out of their skins as complete strangers bellow HEAR ME NOW! on the train.

As Rosenberg explains, choosing a hot word isn't easy: Glass "is something that needs to be activated by voice on a constant basis and mostly in public. It's also an extremely personal product... almost like an (un)natural extension of yourself".

Google was clearly having a laugh with the "glassicus" and "pew pew pew" stuff, but I do wonder what we'd be honking at our headsets if someone other than the big G made them - unless, of course, that someone was Samsung, in which case we'd be saying "OK Gloss".

Word up

So what hotwords would we use to activate an Apple headset, or a BlackBerry one, or a Microsoft one?

I'd love "BOOM!" for the Apple one, and I can imagine some sort of impenetrable teen slang firing up a BlackBerry.

And Microsoft? Trick question! Anyone with a Kinect knows that it doesn't matter what you say to it, because it's just going to bloody well ignore you anyway. That's probably for the best, because you just know you'd have to say something dorky like "personal digital interface activate" otherwise.

The real shame here is that you can't customise the hotword. "OK Glass" is fine, but there's no joy to it, no drama. It's a "meh" word, something you use to describe a day that wasn't terrible that wasn't great either.

Wouldn't it be more fun to shriek "BEHOLD!" or "MINION!" in your best wizard voice, or activate your headset by making the "meep meep" noise of Roadrunner? Shouldn't Batman fans be able to activate their headsets by saying, "Riddle me this"? Beliebers with a high-pitched squeak? Father Ted fans with a cry of "feck!" or "arse!"?

We need to think about this stuff now because wearable tech is still in its infancy: before long we won't just be saying "OK Glass" but "OK phone", "OK watch" and "OK shoes". Saying OK to everything's going to get awfully dull awfully quickly, and listening to people doing it is going to duller still.

Never mind mumbling: let's get the whole world meep-meep-ing.

Strapped for time? Our Google Glass QuickRadar should fill you in with no messing: