Did Google just demo a successor to Google Glass?

Sundar Pichai talked about how Google is heavily invested in AR and hinted that Google is working on something which looked very similar in intention to Google Glass.

Google I/O is the flagship event of the company where it reveals major innovations and products the company has been working on, and this year has been no exception. Google Translate now supports 24 new languages, LaMBDA 2 was announced, and a publicly-available machine learning hub for Google Cloud customers was also revealed. Machine learning and AI were the focus of this year’s event. Towards the end of the keynote, Sundar Pichai talked about how Google is heavily invested in AR and hinted that Google is working on something which looked very similar in intention to Google Glass.

CEO Sundar Pichai, in his keynote, talked about how important the role of AR will be for building applications for the real world. He added that Google is heavily invested in this area. “The magic will really come alive when you can use them in the real world without technology getting in the way. That potential is what gets us most excited about AR – the ability to spend time on what matters in the real world. It’s important that we design in a way that it is built for the real world and does not take away from it.”

Breaking down language barriers with augmented reality | Google – YouTube

Pichai emphasised that though language is so fundamental in connecting with one another, understanding someone who speaks a different language or trying to follow a conversation if you are deaf or hard of hearing can be a real challenge. Google has achieved commendable results in language translation over the years, and the integration of such capabilities in Google glass can be a game-changer.

No timeline given for market launch

Google hasn’t revealed when we can see this product in the market. It clearly stated that it is testing early prototypes. No price point or efficiency related topics were discussed by the tech giant.

As per the video released by Google, with these AR-powered glasses, when a person speaks, the smart glasses will show live captions of what is being said by the other person to the one wearing the glasses. Live translation will also be possible, Google claimed. 

Google is heavily investing in the AR/VR space

The AR/VR market will witness a major boom in the near future, and tech firms are gearing up for the opportunity. The global AR market size was estimated at USD 25.33 billion in 2021, and it will expand at a CAGR of 40.9% from 2022 to 2030, as per a report.

In 2020, Google acquired North which deals with human-computer interfaces and smart glasses. Google, at that time, had specified that it was working on something called ambient computing – where “all your devices just work together, and technology fades into the background.”

Just a few days back, Google acquired Raxium, an innovator in single panel MicroLED display technologies. It added that Raxium had spent five years creating miniaturised, cost-effective and energy-efficient high-resolution displays that will be fundamental for future display technologies. Raxium joined Google’s Devices and Services team.

Google Glass has a troubled past

Google Glass was first displayed around a decade ago at I/O 2012. It was made available in prototype form at a steep cost of USD 1,500 for early adopters. But soon, it was met with controversies, with privacy being an issue of concern among consumers, who claimed that Glass was collecting data from users. 

Image: Google

But Google did not give up on its ambitions. In 2020, Glass Enterprise Edition 2 was made available for developers after its launch in May 2019. Google had claimed that enterprises who have deployed Glass with experiences built by its network of solution providers have seen faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs. It will be interesting to see how Google addresses the past concerns that have cropped up with Glass when it’s launched on a wider scale to the public.

Sreejani Bhattacharyya
I am a technology journalist at AIM. What gets me excited is deep-diving into new-age technologies and analysing how they impact us for the greater good. Reach me at sreejani.bhattacharyya@analyticsindiamag.com

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