Years ago Google failed to find a broad audience for Google Glass, its internet-connected glasses. But now the tech giant’s trying something new. It previewed augmented reality (AR) glasses Wednesday that translate language, Bloomberg reported.
The company conducted a brief demonstration at its annual I/O developer conference and released a video on Twitter, below.
Google previews AR glasses for language translation
A decade ago, Google, now owned by Alphabet, tried and failed to develop a consumer audience for its internet-connected glasses, Google Glass. In part, the glasses lacked focus in terms of their purpose, if you’ll pardon the pun. Google Glass still exists today, but the company markets the product to businesses.
On Wednesday Google presented a prototype of AR glasses aimed at the general public, however, according to a Bloomberg report.
In a brief demonstration at its annual I/O developer conference, the company showed glasses using an AR version of Google Translate. The person wearing the glasses sees a translation of spoken language within their field of vision. You can see how it could work in the video below.
Google’s acquisition of smart eyeglasses maker North in 2020 most likely figured into the development of the new prototype.
The company said nothing about a production timeline or release date for the glasses. But Google Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said the company has a “long way to go” before releasing the product to consumers.
“It’s important we design in a way that’s built for the real world and doesn’t take away from it,” Pichai said.
Competing efforts by Apple and Meta
Google’s new AR glasses are expected to rival potentially similar efforts in development at Apple and Meta Platforms (Facebook). Speculation about Apple’s product focus on a recent patent win for automatic adjustment to a wearer’s prescription as well as Apple’s realityOS.
Augmented reality can break down communication barriers – and help us better understand each other by making language visible. Watch what happens when we bring technologies like transcription and translation to your line of sight. #GoogleIO ↓ pic.twitter.com/ZLhd4BWPGh
— Google (@Google) May 11, 2022