Googlass: Gatecrashing Google I/O

Pub date May 16, 2013
SectionPixel Vision

It would be foolish to turn down the offer of cost-free Billy Idol on a Wednesday night, but I could have remembered that I live in San Francisco and high profile rock ‘n’ roll will like as not, come served with a side of goober. 

This is to say, that I went to the Google I/O developer’s conference last night. The buffet’s waffle fries were not great and I heard the mini-chicken pot pies were worse, but I did get a chance to watch DJ Steve Aoki give shout-outs to “technooooology!”, allowing a techie or two who promised to get him a Google bus to clamber on stage and flop about next to his set-up.

Through a complicated and unexplained series of events, my date at Dave’s with a man who owns a VW van turned into a trip to the Moscone Center for what I would later learn was a $900 opportunity to hear about Big Goog’s new answer to Spotify in the yearly conference’s three-hour keynote speech.

Sadly, our posse got there too late to see Idol (Rolling Stone was on time.) But we managed to catch Aoki’s triumphant remixes of Kid Cudi and Kendrik Lamar, and the bitter end of the after-hours portion of the conference, which Google characterized thusly:

Google I/O After Hours will be a hyper-visual, heart pounding journey, providing hands-on interactive experiences and sophisticated recreation and featuring awe-inspiring technology and live musical performances like no other. We’ve teamed up with the best global visionaries to present to you their dynamic experiments, heightened realities, and magical experiences.

There was a mechanical hand that mimicked its user’s motions (these largely entailed “pointing a gun” at Steve Aoki and vaguely heil-like salutes as I watched), fake living room sets you could digitally manipulate from a touchscreen, light-up lilypads, photobooths, IPA on tap, and food offerings that would have made the house cook at any college fraternity mildly proud (three bean salad!) Many people were wearing Google Glasses. At a concert? 

I was not prepared for all the Burning Man in evidence (did that woman wear those chaps for the entire conference or was that special for Idol?), including this man yes, wearing Google Glasses. He also owns a glowing fur company. “It’s called Electro Fur,” he told me, handing me a card. “So,” I asked politely. “You know it.” Check out his “Elegance” collection, and don’t forget a tail to top it all off. If anyone wants to buy me the $250 furkini top promising “a ridiculous amount of fun”, I’m with it.

Party raft, set sail for white guys!

Introspection abounds, as instructed. What color Google Glasses would be best for me?

Also, peep SFist’s Andrew Dalton, who has a Vine of the Googlass