Google has killed a project internally known as “Iris” that it established to build augmented reality glasses, according to Business Insider. The tech giant worked on the glasses’ development for several years, but it reportedly shelved Iris following waves of layoffs and company reshuffles over the past few months. Another event that factored into Google’s decision was the departure of Clay Bavor, the company’s former chief of augmented and virtual reality, to form a startup with Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor. In addition, Google reportedly kept changing its strategy for the Iris glasses, which became a source of frustration for team members working on the project.
When The Verge reported about the Iris augmented reality glasses in early 2022, it said that Google could launch the device in 2024. The Iris AR glasses were supposed to look like a pair of ordinary glasses. and an early version reportedly resembled a product called “Focals” by North, a Canadian startup that Google had acquired in 2020. Google also demoed a newer version in a video showing a real-time AR translation feature.
While the company has stopped working on its own AR hardware, Business Insider says it still very much has big augmented reality ambitions. Instead of building its own hardware, Google has apparently chosen to focus on creating an “Android for AR” instead. The company is reportedly hoping to adopt the same business model it’s using for its mobile platform and license its AR software to manufacturers. At the moment, Google is busy developing Android XR for Samsung’s “extended reality” wearable devices and, according to Insider, on a new platform called “micro XR” for glasses.
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