Google was one of the first big tech companies to make a play for the augmented reality space with the launch of Google Glass nearly a decade ago. But Glass never made much of a splash in the consumer space, and is now strictly an enterprise product.

But now that virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) headsets are hot again, rumor has it that Google plans to give it another try: The Verge reports that Google is developing an AR headset that could launch as soon as 2024, although many details are still up in the air.

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2

The news comes shortly after Facebook changed its parent company’s name to Meta in an attempt to either put itself at the front of the Metaverse revolution or to actually make the Metaverse happen in the first place, depending on who you ask. Right now Meta’s biggest success is probably the acquisition of Oculus, which has made out some of the most popular VR headsets in recent years.

Meanwhile other companies, including Apple, are also said to be working on their own VR and/or AR headsets.

According to The Verge, Google’s version is expected to use front-facing cameras and a built-in display to blend virtual graphics with your real-world view. The headset is expected to feature a custom Google-designed processor (much like the company’s Pixel 6 smartphones), while offloading some processing to cloud servers in an attempt to keep the headset itself low-power and lightweight.

Current prototypes are said to use an Android-based operating system, but future versions could use a custom OS. And while The Verge’s sources say some of the folks working on the headset come from Google’s Pixel team, it’s unclear if the final product will have the Pixel name.

For now, the headset is code-named “Project Iris,” and the only information we have about it comes from leaks. So even if The Verge’s report is accurate, there’s still plenty of time for things to change before Google is ready to launch a new headset… if it ever does.

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  1. I would be interested in something like this, if it were available in a way that allows me to use it with zero integrations into services/accounts like Google, Facebook, etc.

    I want this kind of hardware to run completely benign services, like a weather widget, news feed, maps/directions, and notification relay from my phone.

    Companies like Facebook and Google obviously want to build deep integrations with their services, using telemetry, camera/mic, and user data. No thanks.

  2. tl;dr: I do not like the corporations pushing this “metaverse” meme.

    Near as I can tell, “the metaverse” is not the sci-fi concept, but a bunch of big tech companies paying news outlets to call every multiplayer VR service, or heck, even every multiplayer video game, “the metaverse”.
    They’ll still probably get everyone using that word anyway.
    After all, there is still no “cloud”. It’s all just someone else’s giant pile of virtual machines being passed around among a zillion different physical servers at a zillion locations so that all servers can be at maximum computational energy efficiency and maximum data transfer rate at all times.

    When it comes to integrating VR and AR into everyday life, there’s two applications, both of which will require a lot of social engineering to take off:
    1. VR workstations for the cost of an Occulus Quest. Obviously, that means everyone’s on remote desktop, so Meta and Microsoft have to find a way to make gradually replacing old hardware with the headsets and a Windows 365 subscription seem cheaper than buying new workstations or thin clients. They’ll also have to find a way to stop people complaining about physical discomfort with headsets, of which they have plenty of avenues, only one of which is actually making better headsets. People will just use wireless keyboards and mice for this, so no worrying about awkward motion controls.
    That lame Second Life clone they’re making will depend on the success of a scheme like this, as without being forced to do it in order to work, there’s little incentive to create an avatar that you can’t do anything fun with.
    2. Google/Apple (whenever they do social engineering with phones, they always do it simultaneously) will really have to shell out a lot of money to get people to adopt AR, all I’d want out of AR is stuff I’m not planning on using every day. But they could make it so people can’t participate in society without it. Perhaps they’ll create a signage hosting service; businesses put up these white rectangles with a grey QR code on them, and to see the signs, you’ll need some AR glasses or a smartphone. Conveniently, the signage will appear in whatever language you want (the message may change between languages for extra social engineering) and can change without changing the QR code. When it gets to the point of restaurant menus and directional signage, you’ll have no choice but to buy in. To prevent any fun, they’ll invoke copyright on all QR codes in this new format. To pay for it, businesses can also put up QR codes that will display targeted ads on every vertical surface. Extremely targeted ads, which you won’t be able to prove to anyone that you saw, even if the ad tells you to hurt someone.
    Both of these would suck to have to put up with.

    1. The more techie my job gets, the more of a Luddite I become in my downtime.

      Most favored weekend:camping trip out of cell phone range.