Google is ready to publicly test its augmented reality (AR) headset, which has been in development for some time. Prototypes of the headset will be available for small-scale tests starting next month.
In terms of hardware, Google is ultra-cautious around product releases. The company is aware that it is not seen as a hardware company. Moreover, previous forays into cutting-edge technology – specifically with Google Glass – have been hit by trouble.
With the Google Glass smart glasses, the product was seen as a glimpse into the future. However, there were growing concerns it could also glimpse into much more. People became worried that the glasses could be used to take photos and videos of people without consent. Google ultimately pulled the product and never gave it a wide release.
While the AR headset may not carry those same concerns, it will also have cameras, microphones, and an in-lens display. The core difference is users will not be able to take photos of videos.
Addressing concerns about image data, Google says the following:
“After the experience is completed, the image data is deleted, except if the image data will be used for analysis and debugging. In that case, the image data is first scrubbed for sensitive content, including faces and license plates.”
It is unclear what Google's AR headset will look like. However, considering the history with Glass and the press images (albeit not the actual product) the company is using, it seems Google is making its headset as close to real glasses.
In a world of bulky AR and VR headsets like Microsoft's HoloLens 2 or the Oculus Rift, a sleek design will help Google's product stand out from the crowd.
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