In the last minutes of the two-hour Google I / O conference, which began on May 11, Sundar Pichai, CEO of the company, briefly proposed a new version of the product that went wrong a few years ago: Google Glass. While taking up much less space than the other products on display there, the fact that it ends the presentation is symbolic.
Google often uses its annual developer event space to showcase concepts that will stay in people’s minds and eventually become products. This time around, the idea that advertising offers an alternative to Metavers was created by Mark Zuckerberg, who changed his company’s name from Facebook to Meta.
We are moving towards a more immersive digital life. The “new Google Glass” is still a prototype, closer to the commercial than desired. Still, it opens up incredible technical possibilities. It remains to be seen whether the company will be able to avoid issues related to the unfortunate original version, especially the privacy invasion.
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Google Glass was launched in 2013, taking advantage of the tech industry movement of the time to favor smart products without buttons. It was a personal project by Sergey Brin, co-founder of the company, who proposed the ability to make phone calls without a smartphone, easily take photos and videos, and browse web pages, which were projected onto a small screen in front. Right eye.
This will be another great achievement for the company due to the technological innovation and expectations built around Google Glass. But a series of problems turned it into a huge failure and it closed in 2015.
For starters, why pay $ 1,500 for something that no one really knows about and whose battery lasts only three hours? The little things that Glass has to offer can be done even with the benefits of a smartphone. In addition, the product was considered ugly or at least, did not fit the way people dressed.
But the biggest problem is the invasion of privacy. The camera constantly pointing at you annoys the communicators, even more so when the user can unknowingly take pictures and record videos of the other party. There were still fears of equipment being attacked by hackers.
It may have been a product of its time, but most likely it was launched with technological zeal, regardless of its impact on people’s lives. Google now has more technical maturity to launch more useful and consistent products. But the question that needs to be asked when dealing with any new technology is: Are its benefits far greater than any of the problems it poses?
The company seems to have learned from the mistakes of the original glass. In contrast to that dubious utility, the new version presented focused on solving a real need. “Language is the key to connecting one with the other. However, understanding a person who speaks a different language or trying to converse if you are deaf or hard of hearing can be a real challenge, ”Pichai said in the presentation. Therefore, the new Glass speaker captures audio and presents subtitles with translations projected onto the lens of the glasses.
Augmented reality and metaverse
There is a fundamental difference between metavers concepts, such as meta and augmented reality, such as Google Glass. The first is to sink into a reality that does not exist in a fully digital environment. It’s like being inside a game, and not interacting with it “from the outside.” Augmented reality, on the other hand, projects digital elements into our reality, allowing us to interact with them as they really exist.
Metavers are easy to understand, as there are products that have been drinking from this source for over two decades. Launched in 2003, Second Life is the most famous of these, and it exists today despite the small number of users.
Thanks to devices like virtual reality glasses, Zuckerberg’s proposal is now immersed in this digital environment. Considering that the company is investing billions of dollars in technology, the question is not “if” but “when” which is being presented. Perhaps the biggest hurdle is the popularity of virtual reality devices, which are still very expensive for the masses.
Augmented reality, on the other hand, has an even greater impact, because we are not the ones who “enter” the digital world, but the “virtual ones” who “invade” our world, allowing it to be manipulated. Movies and series have misused this resource to prophesy.
This is the case with the interface used by the character Tony Stark in some of Marvel’s “Iron Man” movies. Many people leave the theater wanting to be able to use the feature! But there are also bold propositions in the real world, such as those introduced by Microsoft a few years ago, around products like HoloLens Glasses.
Many other companies are also trying to make their mark in the region, such as Snapchat, which offers its own spectacles, designed to allow people to share photos and videos, while the new version also features enhanced reality. And we can’t forget about Apple, which soon promises its own specs with this feature.
The original Google Glass may have been a commercial failure, but it did allow us to think about potential issues with technology like this. This paved the way for better augmented reality services and metavers. Which does not mean that they are all resolved.
The issue of privacy is still on the agenda, awaiting legislation to prevent regulation and abuse by companies. Furthermore, some experts fear that as the digital world becomes more and more immersive and customizable, many people will turn to them as a way to get rid of their real problems, as if they were a new kind of medicine.
There is no doubt that we are on this path. Virtual and augmented reality brings incredible possibilities to improve your life, and despite these worries, the more engrossed they are, the more powerful and fun they will be.
So, it doesn’t make much sense to “protest”. Understand what you want and take ownership of all its benefits and control its risks.