TechfestNW 2013: Google Gogglers

Don't be surprised if you see some people hanging around at TechfestNW wearing what looks like a broken set of prescription wear. They're likely one of the 8,000 people who were selected to try out Google Glass, the wearable computer that has been the talk of the tech world since it was publicly announced last year. WW caught up with a handful of Portlanders chosen as "glass explorers," and asked them about their futuristic cyborg-goggle experience.

Jess Redmon, Digital Marketing Consultant for Realm Creative

I had an orientation session that lasted about an hour at Google's offices down in Venice, Calif. It's a little bit shocking at first, but after the first half hour, I was pretty well used to it. Most people pick it up pretty quickly. My 5-year-old niece picked it up quicker than most of the adults who I let try it out. The coolest thing about it is Google search, which is simple, but really empowering to be able to have any piece of information that you can pull up whenever you need it without having to juggle with your phone.

Travis Buck, VP at Northwest Media Collective

In our industry, we're using it more for shooting video and a little bit of photography. I think people will be using it a lot for remote communication. Not so much face-to-face video chat, but like a real estate agent I know who has clients in Hawaii can walk through a house and give a virtual tour. I kind of wish it had more storage space; it only has like 12GB right now. And I'm hoping they'll have a zoom for the camera. 

Eric Redmond, Engineer at Basho Technologies

I'm writing a book about Google Glass, so my interest is entirely from a programming point of view and an interface design point of view. It's going to force everyone to rethink how they do web design and how they design apps in the future. When I first got it in San Francisco, I had it synced with my Google account, and it knew when the flight was that I was taking back that day, and reminded me I had to get to the airport. I had the time wrong and almost missed my flight! 

John Bergquist, Communications Director at Soma Games

At first I was wearing them all the time, but I've started to selectively use them for hikes and bike trips. My general use has been impacted by how much attention they draw. When I'm in public, I'm constantly approached by people. I always engage them and even let them use it, but it starts to get old after a while. Young people are the most enthusiastic. They get the vision and possibilities right away, whereas adults seem to be focused on whatever the media is hyping about it at the moment. 

TFNW profiles: Rick Turoczy (TFNW curator, PIE PDX)Tyson Evans (NYTimes)Ward Cuningham (Wiki Inventor)Michelle Rowley (Code Scouts)Jackson Gariety (TechStars, teen entrepreneur) 

TFNW features: MFNW Installation by InstrumentPDX Drone ChallengeGoogle Gogglers

Tickets and official site:

WWeek 2015

Willamette Week’s reporting has concrete impacts that change laws, force action from civic leaders, and drive compromised politicians from public office. Support WW's journalism today.