Friday, May 24, 2024

Why Google co-founder Sergey Brin regrets launching AR glasses in 2013 | – Times of India

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Google co-founder Sergey Brin acknowledged that the company’s early attempt at augmented reality glasses, Google Glass, was ahead of its time. However, with recent advancements in artificial intelligence, Brin suggests that the timing might be right for a comeback.
Speaking to reporters at Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, Brin reflected on the company’s past attempt at AR glasses.”Unfortunately, we sort of messed up on the timing,” he told Bloomberg. “I sort of wish I timed it a bit better.”
Google Glass, first introduced in 2013, faced criticism for its design and privacy concerns, leading to its discontinuation in 2015. Despite this setback, Brin still believes that the form factor of Google Glass was “pretty cool.”

Google’s new pair of glasses have AI in them

During the conference, Google showcased Project Astra, an AI agent capable of understanding and interacting with the real world through a smartphone camera. In a demonstration, a user wearing prototype smart glasses continued a conversation with the AI agent, hinting at the potential for AI-powered AR glasses.
The demo showed the user asking the AI what they were looking at, which appeared to be a drawing of Schrödinger’s cat on a whiteboard. The AI responded with both voice and text visible through the lenses, identifying the image.

A decade later, Google Glasses are “killer,” says co-founder

While it’s unclear if the visual was real or if Google truly intends to deliver smart glasses with built-in AR displays, the demo caused speculation that Google Glass could make a return, and Brin didn’t discourage the idea. “It’s funny, because it’s like the perfect hardware,” Brin remarked to CNET. “It’s like the killer app now, 10 years later.”
Brin stressed the importance of hands-free interaction with AI, particularly when users engage in activities like cooking or sports. “Hands-free is the idea,” he told Bloomberg. “A lot of things you want commentary on: You’re cooking or doing some sport, or you want this thing to help you. It’s awkward to do it with your hands also holding your phone.”
He also noted that other companies are exploring ways to make AI interactions more inconspicuous through devices like clips and wearables. Well, that isn’t really working out, as companies face the challenge of convincing users that these devices offer features and capabilities beyond what smartphones already provide. Something that Humane and Rabbit are struggling with.

Google CEO and its AI chief also hints at Glass’ comeback

Demis Hassabis, the CEO of Google DeepMind, also expressed enthusiasm for the idea of AI-powered AR glasses. “Obviously, it works amazingly on the phones,” he said, referring to Project Astra. “But the whole Valley’s debating this — there probably needs to be other form factors as well, when these systems are fully developed. It seems to me like Glass is an obvious one.”
Google CEO Sundar Pichai didn’t shy away from teasing the possibility of glasses making a comeback. Being on the same line as others, he said that Project Astra could shine with a glasses-like form factor. In an interview with CNBC, Pichai said, “Project Astra shines when you have a form factor like glasses. We are working on prototypes.”
The glasses, which once faced heavy criticism, have emerged to be gaining traction, with many other than Brin, Hassabis, and Pichai finding them to be the ‘perfect’ form factor for the AI companion. With the success of Meta’s Ray-Ban smart glasses and Amazon’s Echo Frames, people seem more receptive to wearable AI devices.
This isn’t the first time Google has shown off a new pair of glasses after the discontinuation of the very first pair. During the keynote at I/O 2022, Pichai teased a pair of glasses that could do live translation, but according to reports, that project was shelved just a year after the tease.
The one’s shown at the I/O 2024 are currently a prototype pair, as well. So, we don’t know when these could be scrapped. Though seeing enthusiasm against Google executives, the company might be onto something.

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