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Google’s new AR glasses start seeing real-world use

Google’s latest AR project will reach the hands of testers next month.

google glasses on a woman's face illustrating that they are translating from mandarin chinese to english in real time
Image: Google

Google Glass is back. Well, sort of. Google is sending a small number of prototype AR devices to testers next month.

Those “few dozen Googlers and select trusted testers” will test out the new Augmented Reality tools Google has been working on. The prototype glasses that Google showed off at I/O 2022 are the same ones going out to testers.

Google says that while the glasses have cameras, they are for machine vision tasks only. Things like translating restaurant menus or showing you directions to your destination. The prototypes won’t support photography or videography.

parts of prototype google glass on a desktop
Image: Google

That’s a good thing. When Google Glass first came out, there was an outcry over the privacy implications. People in the same room as Glass wearers felt “insecure and as if their privacy was being threatened.” The cameras being only used for AI tasks partially address that privacy concern.

Focusing on the real-world testing of what visual aids would help navigate different environments is also a plus. Last time, Google Glass was an exciting gadget with no actual use. You could take pictures or ask Google Assistant for things, but you could do that on your smartphone.

Since the advancements in AI tech, Google Glass can do so much more. Real-time translation of conversations. Translation of signs and menus into other languages. Navigation that adapts to the surroundings.

I always wanted Google Glass when it first came out a decade ago. Now I might get my chance with a device that looks like traditional glasses.

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