Was it a publicity stunt or a test session by Google's co-founder as he rode a New York subway train wearing a set of Google Glasses?
Google co-founder Sergey Brin took a pair of Google Glasses for a ride on a New York subway train Jan. 21, and the appearance of Brin and the still-in-development invention caught the attention of a "hardware hacker" who recognized him and posted a photo of the sighting on Twitter.
"Yeeeah ... I just had a brief conversation with the most powerful man in the world," posted Noah Zerkin on his Twitter page. "On the downtown 3 train. Nice guy."
Zerkin, who identifies himself as a "wearable computing and augmented reality enthusiast/hardware prototype" on his Twitter page, apparently works at The Supertouch Group in New York, which claims on its Web page to "focus on the interface point between human behavior and creative computing."
Zerkin, 32, who lives in Brooklyn and describes himself as a hardware hacker and hardware prototyper, detailed the sighting of Brin in a Jan. 22 post on his blog, Integrated Realities.
"Last night I ran into Sergey Brin on the subway ride home," wrote Zerkin in his post. "I got on the downtown 3 express train at Times Square. Almost got into a different car, but switched to the next because there were some people exiting slowly from the set of doors at which I was standing."
Zerkin wrote that he's "already encountered a couple of people wearing [Google] Glass" through his work with augmented reality technologies, so when he saw the eyewear on a fellow passenger across the train aisle, he knew that it was in fact Google Glass.
"So I looked up and there was a fellow wearing a Glass unit," wrote Zerkin. "Cool. I've been to Google NYC for a tech talk (a great one about Street View) and I see Googlers on the subway periodically, so it wasn't that much of a surprise. But … that guy sure looks a lot like Sergey Brin."
Zerkin said he asked the mystery passenger if he could take his photo on the train, and the man agreed. That's when Zerkin realized that it was Brin sitting across from him in the train.
"I asked how the project was coming along and how he liked where it was right now," wrote Zerkin. "Of course he told me that he loved it and that it was coming along really well."
Still, he was skeptical, wrote Zerkin. "Somehow, though, I just didn't trust my own eyes enough to believe it was really Sergey Brin sitting across from me. I mean, I've seen the dude's private jetliner with my own eyes while working out at NASA Ames [Research Center] in my previous job. What would he be doing on the subway? Aside from the fact that he has a ginormous corporate facility and an apartment here."
That's when Zerkin told Brin about his own work on augmented reality technologies, he wrote. "Anyhow, I asked if he was part of the core X team and he said that he was. He told me that there are about 100 other people outside of X who have prototype devices."
Zerkin wrote that he wasn't at the Google I/O event in June 2012, so he's not eligible to obtain a pair of the first Google Glass Explorer Edition units that will soon be available to developers who were at that event. Attendees at the conference were eligible to buy the first Google Glass units for testing for $1,500 a set.
"I told Mr. Brin that I know a few people who are eagerly looking forward to the Glass Foundry events," which are two upcoming and recently announced hackathon events in New York and San Francisco where developers will be working with Google Glass to continue their evolution.