20. Steve Lee

Product Management Director of Google [X], How To Wrestle Sci-Fi Into Reality

20. Steve Lee

“Something like this has never been created before,” says Steve Lee, the point person for Google’s much ballyhooed Project Glass, futuristic eyewear that’s like a computer screen overlaid on the real world. (Need directions? It literally shows you the way.) Well, he’s not exactly right: These glasses have existed in any number of space operas–Geordi from Star Trek being the most famous wearer. “Some people on the team are total sci-fi geeks,” Lee admits, “but what I try to bring is a reality check.” Below, Lee’s practicality patrol:


Does it travel well?
Lee wears a pair wherever he goes–to bars, and even while jogging–and then evaluates the experience. “No matter how cool the technology, if it’s embarrassing to wear around people, it’s not going to be adopted.”

How is it controlled?
There’s no keyboard or touch screen, so maybe it’ll work with . . . head nods? Lee’s team created a Dance Dance Revolution style game, to test out a series of nods to activate the glasses. Verdict: “Many make you look strange.”

Are they stylish?
There’s a lot of modeling going on at Google [X]. “There are issues beyond what cool features we can add to the system,” he says. “You really begin to appreciate that when you start putting things on your face.”


  • 2006

    Joins Google; leads first maps and locations product

  • 2010

    Joins Google [X]

  • 2012

    Unveils Project Glass prototype

    Invests in discovery app and SXSW 2012 darling Highlight