Google will test prototype glasses with augmented reality capabilities in certain public places in the US next month. The manufacturer indicates that privacy is respected and that this type of test allows obtaining additional data compared to those obtained in the laboratory.

Google is stepping up a gear on its future augmented reality devices. The manufacturer just announced that prototypes will be tested outside of labs in the real world starting next month. The aim is to better understand how these devices can help people in their daily lives. For example, a route definition function can be tested taking into account the weather and traffic jams at intersections, which is hardly possible in the laboratory.

Google says small-scale testing will begin with a few dozen employees and trusted testers. These tests take place in public settings in the United States. The prototypes are equipped with screens in the glasses, microphones and cameras. However, they will generally not take photos or videos to respect the privacy of people in public places. The only exception is analysis and debugging operations. In this case, sensitive content such as faces and license plates are removed. The data is stored on a secure server and deleted after 30 days.

The first prototypes tested will be glasses

However, the cameras are active to allow functions to be performed, such as For example, real-time translation of a menu in a restaurant or displaying directions to get to a specific location. A note in the Google Help Center indicates that the first prototypes tested will look like conventional glasses. So it wouldn’t be the mixed reality headset called Project Iris. The glasses could benefit from micro-LED display technology from start-up Raxium, which Google recently acquired.

All testers must be trained on the device to respect protocol, confidentiality and security. They are limited to the levels of actions they can perform and the area in which they can operate. Therefore, testers are prohibited from visiting schools or areas designated for children (such as playgrounds), government buildings, health care locations, religious services or social services, emergency call points, gatherings or demonstrations. Also, testers cannot use the prototypes while driving or playing sports.

The tests mainly concern translation, transcription and navigation. In a video, for example, Google showed a translation of the voice that is displayed in the glasses in real time. It is this video that ended the Google I / O 2022 last May.

The manufacturer plans to work on visual recognition, but also on audio recognition. Note that those present are aware that images may be being recorded and can request their deletion. Hoping the LED indicator showing this process is more visible than the ones on the Facebook and Ray-Ban glasses.

So the race for augmented reality has definitely started between Meta, Apple and Google. The question isn’t so much who gets there first, but who manages to deliver the most compelling benefits to the ecosystem? Because without dedicated applications and uses, served by hardware that is as durable and light as possible, augmented reality will only be a dispensable gadget…

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