If you ran a company that makes billions of dollars off of the software that runs on smartphones, would the first word you use to describe them be "emasculating"? Because that's what Sergey Brin chose.
At the TED Conference in Long Beach, Calif. on Wednesday, the Google co-founder mused that to get information about the world around us, we all must stare down at our mobile devices. "Is this the way you’re meant to interact with other people?" he asked.
Brin concluded: "It’s kind of emasculating. Is this what you’re meant to do with your body?"
Perhaps it wasn't the best word choice. What exactly is "emasculating" about rubbing a piece of glass? What makes the objectively silly looking Google Glass any cooler or more masculine? Whether or not he meant to say that smartphones are effeminate, he certainly did mean to disparage the smartphone in general, and bad-mouthing smartphones when you're the co-founder of the company that owns Motorola and makes Android is, to an outsider, strange.
But Brin has made Google Glass his pet project and has been pushing them hard, wearing them all over the place in public. Google Glass is essentially a wearable computer, allowing the user to talk on the phone, take photos and get information without ever using their hands. In Brin's ideal world, it seems, Glass would replace smartphones all together -- and it might.
Android, Google's mobile operating system, owns 31 percent of the U.S. smartphone market share as of January 2013. But like Apple, which introduced the iPhone in 2007 knowing that it would cannibalize iPod sales, Google doesn't seem to be afraid of sacrificing its young.