Pundits have long complained that the chief thing that will prevent Google Glass from entering the mainstream is its looks. Well, Google has listened, rolling out new frame designs and announcing a design partnership with Luxxotica, whose brand portfolio includes Ray-Ban and Oliver Peoples. And now, it has brought longtime fashion executive Ivy Ross to lead the entire Google Glass team. Ross starts at Google on Monday.
In an introductory post to Google Glass's Google+ page (say that 10 times fast), Ross said she's seeking to answer two questions about Glass: 1) Can technology be something that frees us up and keeps us in the moment, rather than taking us out of it? and 2) Can it help us look up and out at the world around us, and the people who share it with us?
Ross says she's already answered these questions "in different ways, for different products" at the design companies she's worked at, which include Gap, where she was executive vice president of marketing for three years; Disney, where she served as chief creative officer of The Disney Store for just a year and Calvin Klein, where she worked as president of men's accessories. Most recently, Ross served as the chief marketing officer of Art.com for a little less than two years.
Again, it's interesting that Google has brought on someone whose chief skill is marketing design products as opposed to an inventor or developer type. The last person to hold the job, Babak Parviz, fell in the former category: He holds a PhD in electrical engineering and has since gone on to work on another Google project developing "smart" contact lenses. Can Ross give the Glass team the leadership it needs, and the marketing savvy the product will require to gain smartphone-levels of adoption? We'll see.