Google AR & VR – Building and testing helpful AR experiences

Augmented reality (AR) is opening up new ways to interact with the world around us. It can help us quickly and easily access the information we need — like understanding another language or knowing how best to get from point A to point B. For example, we recently shared an early AR prototype we’ve been testing in our labs that puts real-time translation and transcription directly in your line of sight.

However, testing only in a lab environment has its limitations. So starting next month, we plan to test AR prototypes in the real world. This will allow us to better understand how these devices can help people in their everyday lives. And as we develop experiences like AR navigation, it will help us take factors such as weather and busy intersections into account — which can be difficult, sometimes impossible, to fully recreate indoors.

We’ll begin small-scale testing in public settings with AR prototypes worn by a few dozen Googlers and select trusted testers. These prototypes will include in-lens displays, microphones and cameras — but they’ll have strict limitations on what they can do. For example, our AR prototypes don’t support photography and videography, though image data will be used to enable experiences like translating the menu in front of you or showing you directions to a nearby coffee shop.

It’s early, and we want to get this right, so we’re taking it slow, with a strong focus on ensuring the privacy of the testers and those around them. You can read more details about our limited public testing efforts for AR prototypes in the Google Help Center. As we continue to explore and learn what’s possible with AR, we look forward to sharing more updates.

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