Google Shifts Focus from Augmented Reality Hardware to AR Software Development

Google has made the decision to discontinue its internal project known as "Iris," which aimed to develop augmented reality (AR) glasses

Google Abandons Project Iris and Prioritizes AR Software

Google has made the decision to discontinue its internal project known as “Iris,” which aimed to develop augmented reality (AR) glasses. The tech giant invested several years into the project but ultimately put it on hold amidst recent rounds of layoffs and internal reorganization. Clay Bavor, Google’s former chief of augmented and virtual reality, leaving the company to establish a startup with Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, also played a role in this decision. Additionally, Google’s shifting strategies for the Iris glasses caused frustration among team members, further contributing to the project’s shelving.

Earlier in 2022, The Verge reported on the Iris AR glasses, speculating that Google might release the device in 2024. The glasses were intended to resemble ordinary eyewear, and an early prototype bore similarities to “Focals,” a product by the Canadian startup North, which Google had acquired in 2020. Google also showcased a more recent version of the glasses in a video demonstrating a real-time AR translation feature.

Although Google has discontinued its pursuit of AR hardware, it remains highly committed to advancing augmented reality technology. Instead of developing its own hardware, the company has opted to concentrate on creating an “Android for AR.” The plan is to apply the same business model used for its mobile platform and license the AR software to manufacturers. Currently, Google is actively developing Android XR for Samsung’s “extended reality” wearables. Additionally, according to Insider, Google is working on a new platform called “micro XR” specifically tailored for glasses.

Despite the shift away from AR hardware, Google’s ambition in the augmented reality space remains significant. By redirecting its efforts toward AR software development and collaborating with device manufacturers, Google aims to continue shaping the future of augmented reality experiences.

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