9to5Google has a rebooted newsletter that highlights the biggest Google stories with added commentary and other tidbits. Sign up to get it early in your inbox, or continue reading 9to5Google Log Out below:
I’d argue Google is pretty well-positioned for augmented reality on the apps and services front. It’s very easy to see Google Lens being one click away at all times to quickly analyze what you’re looking at. Today, it can already recognize objects, like plants and for shopping, and OCR text for quickly copying. There’s also the ability to overlay translations onto foreign text in the real world that will undoubtedly dovetail with the translation glasses shown off at I/O 2022.
Meanwhile, Google Maps Live View will be great for directions, finding places, and seeing an overlay of restaurant information.
As Google has previously said, these features are useful on phones today, but their utility will truly shine on AR glasses.
However, the best we can do today is a VR headset that has camera passthrough capabilities (i.e., the Apple Vision Pro). Google Lens will excel around the home in that regard, but Google cannot even begin to suggest that somebody actually use a bulky headset for AR navigation in the real world.
Whatever Google and Samsung are announcing later this year has to be a competitive product on its own MR/XR merits, with Apple showing what’s possible when the cost is no object.
Watching immersive YouTube videos is almost a given for Google, while virtual reality experiences, like tours, should also be achievable.
Another form of entertainment is gaming, with Apple saying that 100 of its Arcade games will be available on day one. Google’s headset could be somewhat competitive in that regard. I was surprised that Apple didn’t showcase any health use cases, but I can see how heavy movement might not be compatible with the 4K resolution, eye tracking, and fidelity it’s striving for. This could be Google’s opening with Fitbit integration, as a clear ecosystem exists for virtual workouts on the Meta Quest.
I’m somewhat worried about what a short-term Google headset will offer in terms of productivity beyond floating screens for Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Android has long been working on a desktop mode that could theoretically come into play, but the Chrome for Android browser is not good for real work. You at least need ChromeOS, and I wonder whether that type of integration would exist in the way it does for Vision Pro and the Mac.
The Vision Pro is a consumer product as much as it is a vital developer device to let people get started building the next generation of AR experiences. With Apple releasing a headset in such a splashy manner, everyone else has to do the same. Hopefully, Google by itself or with Samsung has a competitive response.
What (else) is happening
From the rest of 9to5
FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.