These New Google Glasses Create Subtitles For The Real World at Google I/O
21:01 GMT 12.05.2022 (Updated: 21:03 GMT 12.05.2022)
© AP Photo / Michel EulerIn this Nov. 18, 2019, file photo, the logo of Google is displayed on a carpet at the entrance hall of Google France in Paris.
© AP Photo / Michel Euler
Google’s I/O event is an annual developer conference where the tech giant announces upcoming projects and products.
At Google’s I/O 2022 event, the tech giant showed off new “Augmented Reality” (AR) glasses that enable near-instant translation and transcription, displaying captions and allowing two people who speak different languages to communicate naturally.
The glasses were unveiled through a short video clip showing a Google employee speaking in English to a non-English speaker wearing what CEO Sundar Pichai called an early prototype of the glasses. In the video, the Google employee speaks English and the glasses translate the words into Spanish subtitles nearly instantaneously.
The video was simulated, so we do not know how fast the translation will be in the real world, or if the interface is final, but if it is anything like the video, it will be much easier to communicate with someone with a different native language than it is today.
“These AR capabilities are already useful on phones,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai explained on stage, “and the magic will really come alive when you can use them in the real world without the technology getting in the way.”
Prior to showing off the glasses, Google also announced that 24 new languages are being added to Google Translate, presumably the glasses will include those as well. They also demonstrated new AR capabilities for Google Scenes, including instant review star ratings when viewing products on a shelf. Google Scenes was not mentioned as a feature of the upcoming glasses, but it does showcase where Google may be headed in regards to AR.
No release window, price, or specifications was announced for the glasses. It is arguable if they are even true AR. Today, AR glasses use cameras and computer processors to place virtual objects inside the real world. For example, if a user places a virtual globe in their living room using AR, they should be able to walk around the globe and see other sides of it.
True consumer AR glasses have a bevy of obstacles to overcome before they are likely to become mainstream. They have short battery life, give off significant heat, which is uncomfortable while on your head, and has a small field of view.
Google’s prototype glasses, in contrast to Google’s 2014 attempt at AR, Google Glass, look indistinguishable from normal glasses and have no visible cameras. The subtitles also do not appear to move with the user’s head to stay under the person speaking, instead, they display on the side of the glasses, implying that there is no actual interaction with the real world in these glasses.
Regardless of whether these glasses reach the bar set by AR enthusiasts of being “real augmented reality,” the glasses could be a major step in that direction and stand in stark contrast to Meta, who recently unveiled the AR capabilities of its next high-end Virtual Reality headset Project Cambria. That headset blocks the user’s view entirely, but enables AR through full-color passthrough, displaying the real world on its built-in display.
As part of the presentation, Google also revealed the Pixel 7 and 6a phones, the Pixel Watch, and 3D immersive views on Google Maps, among other announcements.