It seems the sudden and increasing interest in augmented reality (AR) could result in Google Glass returning as a consumer product, albeit it would likely look and be very different. At least, that is a possibility Google's head of hardware, Rick Osterloh, is said to have hinted at in a recent interview with The Telegraph. What Osterloh was noted as saying clearly is how smart glasses are "very interesting" to Google at the moment.
The reason for this revisiting interest is AR, according to Osterloh. With the hardware head explaining how Google is looking at the ways in which it can take advantage of the AR revolution outside of smartphones. With Osterloh adding that the company is currently conducting "a lot of research" and considering "all sorts of different form factors." Though the comments came with the caveat that this is a long-term project with Osterloh confirming there are no product announcements on the foreseeable horizon. Instead, Google will continue to invest in the technology with the suggestion Google plans to see how the market evolves over time, and what devices and form factors best suit the market conditions at the time.
In spite of no firm indication on how Google plans to accelerate AR at the hardware level outside of the smartphone form, it is clear Google has grand ambitions for smartphone-based AR. As it was only last week when Google released the first version of its ARCore Android app. While device compatibility is limited in its initial release, Google does intend to add backward support for a vast number of devices in the future – as while the app has the ability to add AR features to phones, it does not require those phones to first have hardware typically associated with AR. Making it capable of instantly turning a substantial number of existing smartphones into AR-ready smartphones. As for Google Glass, while this is a platform and product that many consider to be abandoned, it is only in the consumer version. As in spite of the technology raising concerns for some people, Glass has since been relaunched as an enterprise product. If Google is to launch a new pair of smart or AR-powered glasses, it is likely that by that time the design will have greatly changed.