As the world’s leading (and only) expert on OK, I have regularly been asked: What’s the future of OK? Will it continue to hold the title of America’s and the world’s greatest word?
My answer is, in the words of Timbuk 3: For OK, the future’s so bright, it’s gotta wear shades. Or at least, glasses. OK is now, officially, a magic word.
That’s because it’s right up front with the next stage in the evolution of personal computing, Google Glass, the glasses you wear that connect you to the Internet. And I do mean up front.
“All you have to do,” Google Support explains, “is say the magic words ‘OK glass’ and then say your voice action aloud.”
—OK Glass, make a voice call.
—OK Glass, make a video call.
—OK Glass, take a picture.
—OK Glass, record a video.
—OK Glass, find the nearest restaurant.
—OK Glass, get directions to …
—OK Glass, send a message to …
—OK Glass, Google (search the Internet) …
—OK Glass, post an update.
Apparently the developers at Google had tried other magic words with less success: “Go go Glass,” “Hear me now,” “Device please,” “Glassicus,” and “Let me use Glass to. … ” But none of them was as effective as the simple and distinctive OK.
Glass is only the latest entry in the OK tradition for personal computers. That tradition was started by engineers at Apple, back in the 1980s, when the first computers using point-and-click were being developed. What should go in that little box where you click to indicate approval?
The original design, the story goes, offered a choice between “DO IT” in one box and “CANCEL” in the other. “CANCEL” was clear enough. But some users were steamed at the other legend that seemed to insult their intelligence with the word “dolt.” So the engineers put OK in the box instead, and that distinctive combination of letters that had served so well for approving documents since the 19th century left no room for misunderstanding.
OK, Glass? Take that, Siri!