Those, I hear, are the official names of the colors that Google Glass will come in when the head-mounted computer is released, sometime in the next year or so, into what Larry Page this week called “the normal world.” Let me repeat those color names, because they’re beautiful and earthy and soothing:
“More delicate than the historians’ are the map-makers’ colors,” wrote Elizabeth Bishop, and more delicate still are the marketers’.
It’s hard not to be reminded of the palette of the third generation of iMacs, released back in 2000:
The Glass palette strikes me as even better, even more evocative. It may even surpass Simon & Garfunkel’s great herbal palette:
That’s a little too green-centric for a product line, anyway.
It does worry me just a little bit, though, that the Glass palette eschews green altogether. Is that a political statement? In fact, now that I think about it, the Glass palette places a disconcerting emphasis on fossil fuels. Charcoal? Shale? One can almost smell the carbon dioxide rising into Sky, almost see Cotton and Tangerine wilting in the heat. Maybe they should have included Tar Sands as a color option.
No, that would have been a downer. “Charcoal” has a much nicer lilt to it. Its emotional connotations diverge from its real-world denotations, in a way that nicely underscores both the semiotic and the marketing possibilities of reality augmentation.
What would be really cool is if the color of your Glass also determined the way the device augmented your reality. So if you wore Charcoal, you’d get this dark, goth view of the world, but if you sported Tangerine it would be like seeing existence through the eyes of a high-school cheerleader on game day. Cotton would put you into a super-mellow, slightly catatonic state of mind. Sky would give you a New Age perspective — all crystalline and feathery. Shale would be totally businesslike, the Joe Friday reality.
As for me, I’m going to hold out for Mushroom.