You could hardly miss the news recently about the unveiling of the wearable computer Google Glass — but maybe you didn’t know it has an Evanston connection.

As reported by Chicago Business,  Eric ‘Astro’ Teller, the head of Google X, the tech giant’s secretive lab that developed Glass and is working on self-driving cars, grew up in Evanston.

While he was born in Cambridge, England, Teller graduated from Evanston Township High School where he was co-captain of the school’s soccer team.

In a recent presentation at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival, Teller said his job is “moonshot thinking” or tackling problems that are so uncomfortably ambitious that they defy logic.

Before joining Google in 2010, Teller, 42, founded several startups — including one, BodyMedia, that was sold last month to Jawbone for $100 million.

Original story

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Another Google connection with Evanston

    Larry Page [co-founder] worked for a software company in Evanston.

    It would be interesting to know why he left—saw no future in Evanston ?  the company pushed out by high taxes ?, city regulation ? high rents ? too hard to get city departments to approve ________?, regulations and harrasment from government made the firm move ?

    Imagine "Evanston Ill. headquarters of Google."  Alas a headline that never was.  Imagine how many other companies had to leave Evanston becauses of taxes, rents, regulations, slow approval by government bodies ?

    Oh, wait we all know of such companies that took their money to Chicago, NY, Silicon Valley, etc. and we still have high taxes and vacant stores/offices. 

    Fortunately local government [probably] cannot push NU—-but they do keep trying to at least 'keep it down' ! [and taxes high].

  2. Larry Page & Astro Teller Reflect What’s Great about Evanston

    Anonymous, I read this article and thought, "wow, this guy travelled through our great town, was exposed to our great teachers, and probably left a positive imprint on people he intereacted with in this community and vice versa." That seems like a pretty good deal for us. Same goes for Larry Page. Whereas you see failure and high taxes, I see contributions – big and small – this great city (and our great unviversity) is making all over the world. For all we know the next Google or Intel or Intuit or Amazon is right here, right now.

    Since you're so concerned about who's not here take a look at who is. These companies are just a handful that have promising futures, in my opinion.

    Will any of these companies be in the Fortune 500 in 10 years? Probably not. If any are, will they be Headquartered in Evanston? Probably not. Still, it does not mean they leave for all the "problems" you rattle off — rent, taxes, city bureacracy, etc.

    This town is great because of the diversity of it's people, businesses, non-profits, and residents. I'm not bitter that Eric "Astro" Teller or Larry Page ultimately left Evanston. I'm grateful that they spent some time here and undoubtedly left an imprint on this community. 


    Steve Hagerty (Evanston's #1 Fan who could have lived and built a business anywhere in the country but choose to do it here)

  3. Silicon Valley and Evanston

    Google's success in Silicon Valley has more to do with Stanford a center of computer science and maturity / size of the venture community than anything government driven.  Don't compare Evanston to SV – do appreciate that people who gain from their experience in Evanston contribute at the highest levels in many different disciplines including computer science.

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