Google’s latest smart glasses will begin to appear in public places as part of a company test to turn prototypes into functional devices.
Google unveiled(Opens in a new window) an augmented reality prototype in May, a pair of smart glasses that can translate languages in real time and display the corresponding text over the lenses.
In Google labs, the company has been refining the prototype. But it now wants to see how the glasses perform in real life. “So, starting next month, we plan to test AR prototypes in the real world,” the company wrote in a Tuesday blog post(Opens in a new window). “This will help us understand how these devices can help people in their daily lives.”
For the time being, the trial will be conducted on a “small scale,” with a few dozen Google employees and “select trusted testers” donning the smart glasses. Employees and testers must all go through “protocol, privacy, and safety training.”
The devices will be used both outdoors and in cities. “As we develop experiences like AR navigation,” the company said, “it will help us take factors like weather and busy intersections into account—which can be difficult, if not impossible, to fully recreate indoors.” The tests, however, will avoid schools, churches, hospitals, government buildings, and child-friendly areas.
The prototypes will be equipped with an in-lens display, camera, and microphone. However, in order to protect people’s privacy, the company has disabled the videography and photography functions. Nonetheless, the glasses will be able to use the built-in camera to power translation and navigation features on the in-lens display.
“It’s early, and we want to get this right, so we’re taking it slowly,” the company explained, “with a strong focus on ensuring the privacy of the testers and those around them.”
If the glasses do capture your personal information, Google says the data will be erased eventually. “After the experience is finished, the image data is deleted, unless it will be used for analysis and debugging.” In that case, the image data is first sanitized to remove sensitive content such as faces and license plates. The data is then stored on a secure server to which only a small number of Googlers have limited access for analysis and debugging. “It is deleted after 30 days,” the company stated in a support document.
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According to the document, the AR prototypes resemble regular pairs of glasses. When they start saving image data, an LED indicator light will turn off. “If a bystander wishes, they can request that the tester delete the image data, and it will be removed from all logs,” Google explained.