Google has announced it’s expanding its real-world augmented reality (AR) testing to Canada in November.
The tech giant says that this “small-scale testing” features devices that “look like normal glasses with an in-lens display.” Tests include translating, speech transcription and navigation. The real-world tests will be handled by Google employees in Waterloo and Toronto, Ontario, according to the company’s blog post.
Google launched its real-world AR testing in August in the U.S. with a “few dozen Googlers and select trusted testers.”
“In November 2022, we will extend this small-scale testing with select Googlers in Waterloo and Toronto, Canada under the same privacy and safety measures originally outline,” wrote Google in the blog post. The company’s FAQ on privacy can be found here.
It’s worth noting that Kitchener-Waterloo was the home of North and its Focals AR glasses. Google acquired North in 2020, but the company has been relatively quiet about its plans for the technology the Canadian company was working on since the acquisition.
While I was impressed with North’s Focals in 2019, the glasses were very limited in their field-of-view. For example, to view the Focals’ heads-up display, you needed to have the glasses situated very specifically on your face and look in a particular location on the lens. Slight movements would entirely ruin the AR effect.
The last time Google showed off anything related to VR/AR glasses was at I/O 2022 where the company revealed a pair of translation glasses it’s currently developing.