Google taking a fresh view of smart glasses

We’ve seen tech geeks wearing smart glasses that allow answering calls, listening to music, speaking to a voice assistant, and much more. Though these devices may seem cool, their experience has been overstated. Google attempted and failed with its Glass project, but that wasn’t the end of the tech giant’s involvement with this futuristic technology.

Google IO 2022, the search giant’s annual developer conference in California, revealed the company’s plan to revive the smart glasses project through its augmented reality (AR) program. 

WHAT IS AR?

Augmented reality (AR) is the real-time combination of acquired data with the user’s environment. It is used to alter natural settings or deliver extra information to consumers aesthetically. Unlike virtual reality (VR), which provides an entirely fake environment, AR users encounter a real-world environment with developed perceptual information superimposed on top of it by combining electronic and three-dimensional (3D) components with the user’s view of the actual world.

Why did the Google Glass project fail?

After years of research and development, Google released Google Glass, its version of the smart glass, in 2013. Without the distraction of touch, the glass could do tasks and give content. To add to its advantage, the industry already featured trendy themes such as touchless instructions, multitasking, and smart gadgets that were debated among tech experts. 


Nonetheless, the invention flopped. Some of the reasons cited for its failure included the high price tag of $1,500, poor battery life, design flaws, and many places banning it since its cameras infringe on the privacy of others. 


Only the Google Glass Enterprise Edition is being actively used inside a controlled environment to train and monitor workers on the shop floor.

Google’s AR prototypes

Google has never shied away from picking up interesting AR plays. Some of its acquisitions in the space include: 

  • Plink is a UK-based startup that promises an AR-enabled visual search of art.
  • Raxium is a micro LED manufacturer with AR and MR device applications.
  • Quest Visual, which developed Word Lens – an AR translation application.

In a blog post last month, Google said it is now testing its AR prototypes, following its announcement earlier in the year. The devices are expected to have microphones, cameras, and an in-lens display for AR navigation and text translation. Smartphone control, sign language interpretation, and many other functions may also be added. Only Googlers and selected experts will get a chance to participate in this program. Meanwhile, Google is also working on the privacy issues connected with AR, due to which it is reported that the testing devices won’t be able to capture photos or record videos until these issues are rightly addressed.

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