Google's "If I Had Glass" competition has always been a public affair: applications were submitted using a hashtag on Twitter and Google+, and winners offered the opportunity to be among the first to purchase Glass started receiving notifications in the form of public replies earlier this week. Stanford computer science Ph.D student Andrej Karpathy has accumulated data on winners who entered using Twitter from the publicly-available data, and it provides the opportunity for a bit of analysis into how winners were chosen.
In the wake of the competition, it became apparent that not everyone who had been selected embodied the spirit of the competition, and Google has since announced that it will rescind some of its Google Glass offers after taking a closer look at the applications. Google told New York Magazine that "an independent panel" waded through the applications, and some have argued that the selection process was based merely on an algorithm — ignoring some of the carefully constructed applications that were submitted. The data may not back that up, however.
Firstly, there's a noticeable number of celebrities — including Soulja Boy, Neil Patrick Harris, former Speaker of the House of Representatives Newt Gingrich, Foursquare CEO Dennis Crowley, video game designer Cliff Bleszinski, MythBuster Adam Savage, and singer Brandy Norwood. There also looks to be an unsurprising focus on users with a fairly significant number of followers. Google's rules for the competition, in fact, say that influence and reach would be taken into account. That's not to say that users with few followers didn't get chosen as well: some 602 users on Twitter with 100 or fewer followers were selected out of the 2318 Twitter winners included on Karpathy's list, including one with just seven followers.