Google has had its eye on the augmented reality (AR) space for a very long time. Its first effort, Google Glass, flopped. The execution wasn’t exactly ideal, giving rise to the “Glassholes” epithet, but perhaps its second try — Project Iris — will be better.
Project Iris is the codename for Google’s latest foray into AR, according to a report from The Verge. Its existence isn’t a complete surprise. The search giant acquired North, a company specialising in smart glasses, in 2020. A new version of its smart headwear was always a possibility.
Pondering Project Iris
The report cites two people “familiar with the project”, and claims that the target launch date for these glasses is 2024. There are no visuals accompanying this information, so we’ll have to use our imagination a little. While Google Glass looked like a Saiyan scouter designed by someone who can see Table Mountain from their office, these will be more like ski goggles in terms of design.
Which might not be a bad thing. The additional screen space will allow for more information to be displayed at a time. Google Glass only had a very small screen over one eye. The proposed new design will carry loads more data, enhancing the AR headset’s potential functionality.
But, the report says, Project Iris is still a secret one. There are 300 people working on it, from Clay Bavor (vice president of Google’s Labs division) to some who worked on the company’s Pixel devices. As with most secretive Google projects, there’s every possibility that Iris never enters the mainstream. But we reckon that won’t happen here.
Meta’s Stories hardware is already tending in this direction, and Apple has long been said to have a set of AR glasses in the works. It’d be silly of Google to not have an augmented reality-shaped cake baking in one of its back rooms. Will we ever see Project Iris, under a more sales-worthy name? Assuming the company can make it function, we can’t see why not.