Google Glass Highlights Gender Issues in Tech World
Take a look at the marketing videos for Google's Glass and you'll notice a diverse group of people are wearing the digital glasses. But a new website has popped up that highlights that the first group of people wearing them might not exactly be so heterogeneous.
A new Tumblr website, White Men Wearing Google Glass, features a number of pictures of, yes, white men wearing the glasses. "In its favour, if Google Glass didn't exist, all these Silicon Valley guys would be having affairs or buying unsuitable motorbikes," the tagline of the blog reads.
The site, which is run by an anonymous author, has been shared thousands of times in the last few days on Twitter.
When reached by ABC News, Google would not comment on the ratio of male to female Google Glass explorers, which is the group of people who applied to test the first round of the product.
Google has begun testing an Explorer Edition of the glasses, which overlay digital information in the world, in the last few weeks with select application developers and early adopters. Yes, one of the men even tested them in the shower.
"Glass is designed by and for people from all walks of life and we hope everyone will have a chance to enjoy it down the road. Our next step is to make Glass available to participants of our #ifihadglass initiative, which was designed to bring a diverse group of people into the Explorer program," Google said in a statement.
The #ifihadglass initiative opened up Glass availability to the public. The current wave of glasses are being given to those who signed up at the Google I/O developer conference last year when the glasses were first previewed. However, the #ifihadglass contest, which was launched this year, allowed anyone to submit their ideas of what they would do with the glasses.
But while Google might not be firing back at the Tumblr, another group is - women. In response to the original site, a new Tumblr called Women with Glass has popped up. The site was started by Christina Warren, a senior writer at Mashable.com, and a few other female technology journalists who have been testing Glass.
"I thought, 'Why do we not have a women-with-Glass Tumblr? We aren't unicorns!'" Warren told ABC News.
Warren admitted there are "considerably less women" Explorers, mostly because there are fewer female software developers.
"Most of the first females to have this are journalists," Warren said. "Other than those at Google proper, there doesn't seem to be that many female developers who have the Explorer Edition.
The underrepresentation of women in the tech world, especially the world of software developers and coders, is, of course, nothing new - though there has been a great effort to change that. Groups like Girls Who Code and Change the Ratio have formed with the goals of recruiting and supporting more females in the technology world. In fact, Google will be holding a women in technology gathering at its upcoming Google I/O conference.
"When you are talking about developers, you are looking at a more lopsided gender ratio," Rachel Sklar, the founder of Change the Ratio, told ABC News. "It highlights what we already know is an issue, which is that we have a very homogenous class of people with access to next-gen technology."
But while it might not be the norm, there are some female software developers out there not only wearing Glass but making apps for it. Macy Kuang, 25, ordered her pair last year at Google I/O and received them last week.
"I started working on a bike-sharing app last night. I want to be able to use them to find where a nearby bike station is," Kuang told ABC News. "I don't have any plans to make other apps, but there are a lot of possibilities."