On May 11 and 12, 2022, the fourteenth edition of Google I/O was held, an annual conference organized by Google to present its new products and latest updates. After a rich 2021 edition, the 2022 edition is off to a strong start with the presentation of a prototype of innovative connected glasses.
Google Glass: the technological soap opera of the 2010s
In 2011, Google was already causing a stir with its Google Glass project. The objective at the time was to offer a pair of glasses using augmented reality. Using an integrated camera, a touchpad included on one of the two arms of the glasses, a microphone and equipped with internet access thanks to Wi-Fi technology, the goal was to ensure that the user can access all of Google’s features in front of them.
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Unfortunately, three years later, Google realizes the obvious: the project seems too ambitious for the time and much too expensive. Other issues also come into play: the applications are not adapted for optimal use of the device and the privacy of individuals is also compromised since the wearers of Google Glass had the possibility of taking photos or videos of moderate without their knowledge.
In January 2015, the sale and production of these connected glasses are suspended indefinitely. In 2017, hope seemed to be reborn when the Mountain View firm announced that a new model of Google Glass was going to be designed for businesses, but endorsed any suppression, at that time, of offering a consumer version.
New Google Glass to break the language barrier
Fortunately, the idea of offering connected glasses for the general public has not been abandoned. Google announced as part of the new edition of its Google I/O keynote, a prototype of connected glasses. These were showcased as part of an explicit video of some of its features.
We see two people talking, each in their own language. If in everyday life, this situation seems almost improbable for reasons of understanding of his interlocutor, this is not the case here. Indeed, these new Google Glass embed new technologies (artificial intelligence, machine learning algorithms) allowing to listen to what a person says, in order to transcribe their words and translate them. Thus, a person who does not understand a language can obtain an almost immediate translation of what his interlocutor announces.
With the presentation of these connected glasses, Google shows that instant translation and breaking the language barrier are subjects close to its heart. The glasses should also have a camera allowing deaf and hard of hearing people to have a conversation with people who do not know sign language. For the latter, the device understands sign language and translates gestures into words.
Several companies have looked into the issue of instant translation in recent years: Zoom by acquiring Kites, a German start-up specializing in this field, or Meta, one of whose multilingual machine translation models has won a prestigious award. .