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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Little Is Said About Google Glass at Developers Conference

12:04 p.m. | Updated to reflect the role of Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, in a demonstration of Google Glass.

Sergey Brin, one of Google's co-founders, pulled off a stunt for the ages last year when, while wearing the company's Internet-connected glasses, he provided color commentary on skydivers heading to the convention center where the company's annual I/O conference was being held.

But this year, Glass seems nowhere to be found, except on the faces of developers who have agreed to pay $1,500 for the device.

During a keynote presentation that stretched for 3 1/2 hours, Google executives barely mentioned Glass, and none wore it onstage.

Larry Page, Google's chief executive, briefly discussed it but only in response to a question. His answer revealed that Google seems to want to downplay Glass for now.

Google is moving exceedingly slowly with the device, he said, because wearable technology is a new category and it wants to make sure people are happy with the device before adding many new things.

“Our main goal is to get happy users using Glass,” he said. “So the team is trying to build the minimal set of things, just for practicality's sake, that will provide a great experience and get happy users, and then work on it for the next 10 years.”

Glass has had its share of publicity nightmares since more people started wearing the glasses in public, like a “Saturday Night Live” skit, negative news reports and a a rather funny Tumblr page called “White Men Wearing Google Glass.”

One of those white men, Robert Scoble - a technology blogger, a Rackspace employee and a classic early adopter - made Glass the punchline of many jokes last week when he posted a photo of himself wearing it in the shower.

Mr. Page took the opportunity on Wednesday to let Mr. Scoble know how he felt about his Glass publicity efforts.

“Robert, I really didn't appreciate the shower picture,” he said.

An earlier version of this post incorrectly described the role of Sergey Brin, Google's co-founder, in a demonstration of Google Glass. He narrated as a skydive was performed; he did not himself skydive.