Computing

Unlike Google Glass, These New AR Glasses Unveiled at I/O Might Actually Be Practical

This time around, Google puts aside flair to focus on features like language translation.

Google's prototype glasses aim to translate the world for you.
Google

Following reports that Google has been developing AR glasses, the company indeed announced a prototype pair of glasses at this year's Google I/O conference

Google's focus with these glasses appears to be helpful features such as language translation. Google acquired smart glasses maker North in 2020, and its work with Google Glass pioneered smart eyewear nearly a decade ago.

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Google's tease of its glasses was brief, but the company's continued strides in AR tools through its phones, search and Lens look ready to carry over to its glasses, too. But there's no clear indicator when these glasses might be available to buy.

Google has been active in VR and AR for years. While no company has everyday smart glasses in regular use, Google looks like it's going to try again.

One of the most interesting parts of its new glasses initiative is a focus on practical utility. The ability to understand and be understood is actually useful. These glasses aren't focusing on floating dinosaurs or magic experiences; they're trying to assist. Meta's recent smart glass ambitions also aim at providing utility, but Google's experience and tools seem well suited for the challenge.

As Google's CEO Sundar Pichai noted in a blog post, the company is working on making these prototype glasses deliver language in a line-of-sight experience. Google's work with AR will likely be incremental, but it also looks like it's trying for services first. In that sense, these glasses already seem a lot different than the more magical VR headset that Daydream was. In many ways, it seems like the sort of stuff I always expected Google Glass to do someday.