Jon Stewart Puts Google Project Glass and Instagram In Perspective

Jon Stewart Puts Google Project Glass and Instagram In Perspective

11th April 2012

First of all: hat tip for Danny Sullivan for pointing this video out on Marketingland. I could just point you there but I wanted as many people as possible and it is a nice set up for some thoughts on the topics.

First of all the video itself, it is an extract of the Daily Show from Jon Stewart yesterday. He there talks about the announcement by Google of Project Glass last week and the acquisition of Instagram by Facebook. To say the least Stewart is sceptic about both topics. And as we are used from Stewart he brings that with the necessary humor.

Some of the great quotes from the video:

About Google:

“Google … the world’s largest database of people wizzing in public. But now, it will be like they’re peeing right in your eye.”

“In New York City, that mother(peep) is going to get hit by a car.”

About Instagram:

“Wow. That’s. Really. Lame. Why is this news?”

“A billion dollars of money? For a thing that kind of ruins your pictures?”

Check out the entire video here, and we’ll talk after :).

But the point Stewart makes…

Off course this segment is mainly just funny, but Stewart does make some valid points which we as online marketers or people involved or interested in the online industry should pause at, look at and take to us.

We are living in a world with almost 7 billion people (and counting) and how many of these people are actually involved in the online industry? And with involved I mean working in it, reporting about it or making money out of it. It is a fraction of the entire world population. Yes, the number of people actually using online services is a lot higher. But those people to be honest couldn’t care less if Instagram was bought by Facebook or not, and wouldn’t even think about a number like ‘a billion’ when it comes to how much Facebook would pay for a tool like that, a tool, as Stewart puts it, “that kind of ruins your pictures”.

With numbers this high immediately the word ‘bubble’ comes to mind again. And not in relation to the filter bubble this time, but the good old ‘Internet Bubble’. This kind of money for a service like that seems insane. What is behind it? And shouldn’t we be worried a bit because of what is going on?

Why did Facebook spend this kind of money?

Let’s take a quick look at the Facebook deal. Why did they spend that much money on Instagram?

In our radioshow yesterday me and Roy discussed why Facebook would pay this much money for a tool. Is it the people behind the tool, or is it something else? There are a few reasons to think of why. If you look at Facebook’s mobile efforts they are clearly lacking there. The knowledge from within Instagram could be worth a lot of money. But a billion dollars??

Another reason could be location. This one I feel is the most sensible option. Facebook is having location issues. Just look at where people seem to be checking in. In some cases that is dozens of miles away from where they actually are. Facebook is having localization issues and one thing which Instagram does have worked out pretty well is location. It could be that Facebook is buying that specific piece of technology. But again: is that worth a billion dollars?

To be honest, will all the reasons in the world I cannot find one reason which would justify the amount of money being paid for Instagram. There really is no good reason. So it seems we are back at where we were several years ago: in the middle of a bubble. Because what the Facebook-Instagram deal does it not just create a new feature or buy a new piece of technology for Facebook: it also sends out a message: we want to spend again without actually knowing what we will get in return. We’ll probably be seeing a lot more start ups arise in the next few months, all hoping for that one investor which makes their idea the one billion dollar idea that Instagram is now.

Google Project Glasses?

The other thing which Stewart mocks at is Project Glasses from Google. Now to be honest: if Google would actually launch this I would most definitely want one. Better yesterday than tomorrow. Because it is an extremely cool gadget.

But Stewart points at something else: he says:

“Google, most of us use it everyday”

About Project Glass he says:

“It’s like a nose-mounted version of the Google we love”

Without realizing it probably he puts the finger on one of the major issues: where is Google going with this, wasn’t the thing we liked about Google that its a search engine, a good search engine? Shouldn’t it be Apple making these glasses instead of Google?

Google seems to be drifting away from their core business more and more. Phones, Cars, now glasses, where will this end? And where does search come in? Yes, search comes in within these glasses, the ‘results’, so to speak. But is this really where we want Google to go? And does the big public care about that? Because they know Google from… search…

So why should we care?

In his little item Jon Stewart hits on two major things: we are living in a bubble, a technology bubble, which is of no or less interest to those outside that bubble. We make it ‘big’, we pay a lot of money for that, but is it really something that helps the general crowd of people in the streets?

Maybe we should sometimes also step back and take things in perspective. Not blowing things out of proportions and trying to figure out what the ‘man in the street’ really wants and needs. What do you think?


Written By
Bas van den Beld is an award winning Digital Marketing consultant, trainer and speaker. He is the founder of State of Digital and helps companies develop solid marketing strategies.
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