In the nine years since Google Glass launched, nearly every major tech company has tried its damnedest to make a decent pair of AR glasses. Most of these experimental products suck so bad that they never reach consumers or morph into bare-bones “smart glasses,” but Google could give the industry a much-needed push with a brand new AR operating system.
Google is currently recruiting people for its “Augmented Reality OS team,” which will build “the software components that control and manage” future AR hardware. Job listings for the AR OS team, which were first spotted by 9to5Google, describe a software that can create “compelling AR experiences on highly-customized hardware platforms,” meaning that this OS will probably run on more than just smart glasses.
More importantly, the new AR OS might power more than just Google hardware. One of Google’s greatest strengths is its ability to uplift (or create) entire industries with software like Android, Chrome OS, and Wear OS. Assuming that Google shares its AR OS, which isn’t a guarantee, it could become the premiere operating system for nearly all AR products. (Large rival companies like Apple will probably build their own AR OS, though.)
This morning I became a Noogler. My role is to lead the Operating System team for Augmented Reality at Google.
If you are interested in joining me on this journey, I'd love to talk. Here is a link to one of the many positions I'm working to fill: https://t.co/a4glyeFxVD pic.twitter.com/hVAVKcZvQJ
— mark lucovsky (@marklucovsky) December 13, 2021
That said, Google will absolutely develop its own AR devices. The company’s job listings mention as much. Whether these products reach the market is a different story, and of course, we aren’t 100% sure what Google is working on.
We can make one assumption, though. Google will probably use North, a smart glasses company that it bought in 2020, to build a pair of AR frames running on the new AR OS. After all, some of Google’s new job listings are based in North’s hometown of Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada. (Any smart glasses Google releases will probably be very different from Google Glass, which is now an enterprise-only product.)
There’s no word on when Google will launch future AR products, but it’d better hurry. Facebook has spent years working on AR glasses and real-world integration with the “Metaverse,” Apple will supposedly release its smart frames in 2022, and there’s a glut of companies (both big and small) teasing wild AR glasses concepts.
Of course, we hear wild things about soon-to-be AR products nearly every year. Augmented reality is clearly very difficult to work with, which is why companies keep ditching their experimental devices. There’s no guarantee that major tech companies will launch compelling AR devices in 2022 or 2023, so don’t get your hopes up.
Source: Google via Android Central