You didn’t hear the word “metaverse” once from Google executives at today’s I / O developer conference. Instead, CEO Sundar Pichai and others talked about “environmental computing,” the concept of integrating digital devices into people’s lives so they can connect to the Internet seamlessly as they spend their day. In other words, Google is in no hurry to respond to Horizon Worlds on Meta Platforms or other, more AR-focused ideas about the metaverse.

But Google obviously wants people to be excited about AR glasses. Pichai closed today’s event with a video showing a prototype of a pair of ordinary glasses that seem to be designed to do only one thing: translate speech in real time, showing the output of the transparent display of glasses as text. This is far from immersive AR, but Google seems confident that real-time translation is a compelling feature enough to get people interested in the device category. There was no indication of when Google might try to launch such a product.

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