Google Begins Field-Testing AR Glasses Prototype

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Derek Saul   Forbes U.S. Staff

Google Begins Field-Testing AR Glasses Prototype

Topline

Google will begin sending prototypes of its new augmented reality glasses into real-world testing, the company announced Tuesday, as the technology giant makes a fresh attempt to field wearable technology after its Google Glass program famously flopped.

Key Facts

The public tests will begin next month involving a few dozen employees and a small group of other testers, and will build off lab testing, Juston Payne, a group product manager at Google heading its Glasses team, wrote in a blog post.

The prototypes feature cameras, in-lens displays and microphones.

Google’s primary goals for the tests are to look at how the glasses’ perform in navigation, transcription, translation and visual search, according to an FAQ on the program.

Google will limit the activities of testers and users will not be able to use the glasses while driving, playing sports or operating heavy machinery.

Key Background

Google first unveiled smart glasses in 2012 to much fanfare – and privacy concerns – but announced in 2015 it was halting sales of the first version of Google Glass. Google unveiled its rebooted augmented reality glasses on May 11, releasing a video showing off the glasses’ real-time translation capabilities. Verge reported in January that Google is targeting a 2024 release date. Other Silicon Valley titans are also focusing on developing augmented reality devices. Apple presented a mixed reality device to its board in May, according to Bloomberg, while Meta founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg hopes to bring his company’s AR glasses to market by 2024, according to Verge.

Tangent

Shares in Google’s parent company Alphabet rose 3.5% in Tuesday trading, slightly outperforming a broader market rebound and largely rising before the AR announcement.

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Derek Saul   Forbes U.S. Staff

I'm a New Jersey-based news desk reporter covering sports, business and more. I graduated this spring from Duke University, where I majored in Economics and served as sports editor for The Chronicle, Duke's student newspaper.