Google annoyed translation glasses last week Google I / O Developer Conferencefulfilling the promise that one day you can talk to someone who speaks a foreign language and see the English translation in your glasses.
Contractors of the company demonstrates the glasses in a video; he showed not only “closed inscriptions” – real-time text writing in the same language what another person says – but also a translation into and from English and Mandarin or Spanish, which allows people who speak two different languages to have a conversation. while allowing hearing-impaired users to see what others are saying.
As Google Translate hardware, glasses would solve a major sore point with the use of Google Translate, which is: If you use an audio translation, the audio to be translated enters the conversation in real time. By presenting the translation visually, you can follow the conversations much more easily and naturally.
Unlike Google Glass, the prototype translation glasses are also augmented reality (AR). Let me explain what I mean.
Augmented reality occurs when a device captures data from the world and, based on its recognition of what that data means, adds information to it that is accessible to the user.
Google Glass was not an augmented reality – it was a heads-up display. The only contextual or environmental awareness he could handle was location. Based on location, may provide step-by-step directions or location-based reminders. But he usually could not collect visual or audio data and then return the user’s information about what they saw or heard.
Google’s translation glasses are actually AR, essentially taking audio data from the environment and returning to the user a transcript of what is said in the chosen language.
Members of the audience and the technical press reported on the translation function as an exclusive application for these glasses without any analytical or critical research, as far as I could tell. The most glaring fact that had to be mentioned in every report was that translation was just a random choice for processing audio data in the cloud. Glasses can do so much more!
They can easily process any audio for each application and return any text or audio to be consumed by the user. Isn’t that obvious?
In fact, the hardware sends noise to the cloud and displays any text that the cloud sends back. That’s all glasses do. Sending noise. Receive and display text.
The applications for audio processing and return of active or information contextual information are practically unlimited. The glasses can send any noise and then display any text returned by the remote application.
Noise can even be coded, like an old-fashioned modem. A noise-generating device or smartphone application can send R2D2-like beeps and whistles that can be processed in the cloud as an audio QR code, which, once interpreted by the servers, can return any information to be displayed. of glasses. This text can be instructions for working with equipment. It could be information about a specific artifact in a museum. It can be information about a specific product in a store.
These are the types of applications that we will wait for visual AR to deliver in five or more years. Meanwhile, most of this can be done with audio.
One obviously powerful use of Google’s “translation glasses” would be to use them with Google Assistant. It would be just like using a smart display with Google Assistant, a home appliance that provides visual data, along with normal audio data, from Google Assistant queries. But this visual data will be available in your glasses, without hands, no matter where you are. (This would be an application for heads-up display, not AR.)
But imagine if “translation glasses” were paired with a smartphone. With permission from others, Bluetooth contact data transfers can show (on the glasses) who you’re talking to at a business event, as well as your history with them.
Why the technology press broke Google Glass
Critics of Google Glass criticized the product for two main reasons. First, a forward-facing camera mounted on headphones makes people uncomfortable. If you’re talking to a Google Glass user, the camera is aimed right at you, making you wonder if you’re saved. (Google did not say whether their “translation glasses” will have a camera, but the prototype did not have one.)
Second, the excessive and noticeable hardware made the media look like cyborgs.
The combination of these two hardware breaches has led critics to argue that Google Glass is simply not socially acceptable in a friendly company.
Google’s “translation glasses,” on the other hand, neither have a camera nor look like cyborg implants – they look a lot like ordinary glasses. And the text that is seen by the user is not seen by the person they are talking to. They just seem to make eye contact.
The only remaining point of social unacceptability for Google’s “translation glasses” hardware is the fact that Google will essentially “record” others’ words without permission, upload them to the translation cloud, and probably keep those records as it does with other products. related to the voice.
Still, the fact is that augmented reality and even head-up displays are super addictive, if only manufacturers can get the right set of features. One day we will have a full visual AR in plain glasses. Meanwhile, the right AR glasses will have the following features:
- They look like ordinary glasses.
- They can take prescription lenses.
- They don’t have a camera.
- They process audio with AI and return data via text.
- and offer assistant functionality by returning text results.
To date, there is no such product. But Google has shown that it has the technology to do so.
While language captions and translation may be the most compelling feature, it’s – or should be – just a Trojan horse for many other compelling business applications.
Google has not announced when – or even if – “transfer glasses” will be available as a commercial product. But if Google doesn’t make them, someone else will, and that will be a deadly category for business users.
The ability of ordinary glasses to give you access to the visual results of the AI interpretation of who and what you hear, plus visual and audio results from assistant inquiries, would be a complete change in the game.
We are in an awkward period in the development of technology, where AR applications exist mainly as smartphone applications (where they do not belong), while waiting for mobile, socially acceptable AR glasses, which are many years in the future.
Meanwhile, the solution is clear: We need audio-centric glasses with AR that pick up sound and show words.
This is exactly what Google is demonstrating.
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