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Google to test AR prototype glasses and lenses for navigation, translation, transcription, and visual search

Google will soon begin testing new AR prototypes in public settings worn or used by Googlers and trusted testers starting next month, the company announced. The applications for use include navigation, translation, transcription, and visual search.

AR prototypes. Google explained that these AR prototypes will “include in-lens displays, microphones, and cameras.” Google said there will be “strict limitations on what they can do.” The AR prototypes do not support photography and videography, Google added but did say they do have image data that will be “used to enable experiences like translating the menu in front of you or showing you directions to a nearby coffee shop.”

Local search application. There is a clear vision of how this can be adapted for local search, from finding restaurants and navigating to local businesses. Google wrote in the help document “We will be researching software experiences to assess how useful and helpful these experiences are, and how to make them even better. For example, we will test experiences that include navigation, translation, transcription, and visual search.”

What do they look like. It is not clear what these AR devices will look like, but maybe like version two of Google Glass? Google said “We are testing new experiences such as translation, transcription and navigation on AR prototypes. These research prototypes look like normal glasses, feature an in-lens display, and have audio and visual sensors, such as a microphone and camera.”

Google added it “will be researching different use cases that use audio sensing, such as speech transcription and translation, and visual sensing, which uses image data for use cases such as translating text or positioning during navigation.”

Why we care. Besides this all being futuristic and cool, the possible applications for how these devices can be used by searchers to find local businesses or to find deals on items you are looking like in real-life retail stores, are endless.

Personally, I love these new pieces of technology and I cannot wait to give it a try.

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About The Author

Barry Schwartz a Contributing Editor to Search Engine Land and a member of the programming team for SMX events. He owns RustyBrick, a NY based web consulting firm. He also runs Search Engine Roundtable, a popular search blog on very advanced SEM topics. Barry can be followed on Twitter here.

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