Arriving in Barcelona, one of Glass's first tasks was, inadvertently, taking on Apple. It all started out very mundane -- I met with friends who needed to exchange a charger at the chic new Apple store on Passeig de Gràcia, a major Barcelona avenue where you strut to be seen. We strolled in, Glass seemingly innocuously perched on my face. Quickly, however, just wandering down an aisle heads turned like a synchronized wave: Was it really true? Was this the Gafas de Google? Waiting in line to pay, two employees sporting their blue shirts braved the question everyone else wanted to ask. "Yes," I said. "This is Glass." "Can we try?" "Of course," I responded thinking to myself, "This is why I'm here!" The show was on. And Barcelona loves shows. Tourists come here for the spectacular art of Picasso and Miró, the architecture of Gaudí and more. When I arrived, Glass grabbed everyone's attention starting, ironically, at Apple.
With its shocking shows of art and architecture, Barcelona attracts tourists from around the world. Not only does Glass symbolize modernity in this modernity-embracing city, it takes pictures and everyone here wanted to see and be seen in a picture with Glass. Outside Gaudí's famous basilica, La Sagrada Familia, snap! I join the legions of gawkers and shutterbugs admiring this shockingly monstrous yet stunning UNESCO World Heritage Site. Gaudy? Maybe, but not Glass. In Barcelona, Glass is exactly the right alchemy of chic and showy. Everyone whispered as I walked its broad avenues and paused at its famous tourist spots, snapping their heads back to make sure they'd not seen an illusion. And they wanted photos -- of themselves with Glass.
In Madrid I'd ask people who tried Glass what they wanted to use it for. In Barcelona they didn't want Glass for something else. They wanted Glass for itself. A friend from San Francisco emailed me quoting people in Silicon Valley who say that "Glass will be a fluke because nobody wants their sh*t on their face" but as seen here in Barcelona, everybody wants Glass on their face.