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Google Is Joining Facebook & Apple In The Metaverse

New Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2
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Google is working on a new AR headset called “Project Iris”.

This news comes from The Verge, who has spoken with a few people familiar with the matter. This news is not exactly surprising, as Apple is rumored to be launching a couple of different AR headsets this year. And as the war for the Metaverse heats up, Google does not want to be left behind – like it has with messaging.

In September, there were some hints of Google working on an “Augmented Reality OS”, so there have been some hints of this being in the works.

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According to the report from The Verge, this is not a glasses form factor. Instead, you’ll be looking at a screen with the current early prototype, sort of like ski goggles. It does have an internal battery and does not need to be tethered to work.

Interestingly, it is running on a “custom Google processor” similar to the Pixel 6, and Google’s own servers. Of course, that is not a surprise, since Google’s hardware head, Rick Osterloh said last year that Tensor is “a perfect foundation for making big improvements in AR”.

Project Iris reportedly runs on Android

For now, Iris runs Android, but that could change in the future. Since Google is already hiring a number of positions for the new OS it is working on.

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The report also notes that Google wants to ship the unit in 2024. So that’s about two years away, meaning it’s still in the early stages. Work on this headset has began to ramp up in recent months.

As of now, it’s unclear whether this device is going to be Pixel-branded or not, as there is no “clearly defined go-to-market strategy”. However, the “Pixel team is involved in some of the hardware pieces”. So it is possible that it could end up being a Pixel-branded AR headset.

Currently, there are 300 employees working on this headset, with hundreds more being hired in the future. Google is being very secretive here. As Iris is being built in the Bay Area at a separate building which “requires special keycard access and non-disclosure agreements.” Perhaps unsurprising, but Google’s AR/VR head, Clay Bavor is overseeing the project, as part of Google Labs.

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