Google showed off an AI smart glasses prototype, but don't get your hopes up

Google showed off an AI smart glasses prototype, but don't get your hopes up

At Google I/O 2024, the company showed off a pair of smart glasses with a contextual AI assistant.


Google promised there would be AR announcements at I/O 2024, but there were hardly any.

The only relevant announcement I saw in this context was Project Astra, Google's first presentation of a multimodal AI assistant that continuously registers everything it sees and hears and can react to it in a contextual way.

In a short video, Google showed Project Astra in action: first on a Pixel smartphone, then on a prototype pair of smart glasses.


Google is deep in the AR experimentation phase

The tech industry is currently experimenting with new form factors for AI assistants (Humane AI Pin, Rabbit R1), and smart glasses are a hot contender, at least if you ask Mark Zuckerberg.

With Project Astra, Google would have its own solution up its sleeve if Meta and other companies pushing glasses-based AI assistants are right and successful with such products.


It is not clear from the announcement and video how serious Google is about the smart glasses. What is clear is that this is a prototype.

Google teased a similar prototype of smart glasses with translation two years ago, a project that was reportedly quickly abandoned. Earlier this year, the company laid off hundreds of employees working on AR hardware, and Google's top AR executives Clay Bavor, Marc Lucovsky, and Paul Greco had previously resigned.

Things are likely to get more real this year with a mixed reality headset and Vision Pro competitor that Google is developing with Samsung. However, hopes that Google will present an Android-based spatial OS for the device at I/O 2024 have not been confirmed.