Google has announced that it will begin small-scale tests next month of its augmented reality (AR) headset prototypes in public places. It has not forgotten the experiences it had with Google Glass almost a decade ago, so it’s taking a more gentle approach concerning the devices’ capabilities.
With Google Glass, people got concerned that wearers could secretly film and take photos while out in public, and Google ended up shelving the product for a while. With the new AR prototypes, there will be in-lens displays, microphones, and cameras, but you won’t be able to take photos or videos. The image data from the headsets will enable the translation of menus, give you directions to the shop, and more. Hopefully, these restrictions will allay fears.
For those still a bit concerned, Google will initially restrict the use of these devices to a few dozen Google employees and trusted testers outside the company. Additionally, if a device is collecting image data for the above uses, an LED indicator will turn on. Google says you can even ask the wearer to delete the image data if you think you’ve been caught by the headsets.
Regarding the use of image data, Google said:
“After the experience is completed, the image data is deleted, except if the image data will be used for analysis and debugging. In that case, the image data is first scrubbed for sensitive content, including faces and license plates.”
In its blog post, the company said that it was keen on getting the process right, so it’s taking things slow and putting a major emphasis on privacy, including of the testers and people around them. Initially, testing will be conducted in the United States. Google says it will provide more updates later on, but for now, you can get some questions answered in the Google Help Centre.