Google shows off prototype AR glasses that translate languages in real-time

Slick-looking specs demoed in impressive video
Google teases new AR glasses
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Google has teased a return to building smartglasses for the masses after showing off an early prototype of a pair of connected specs at its I/O developer conference opening keynote.

While it didn't share any details around specs about the glasses, it did show off the prototype in a short video, displaying a design that's a distant cry from Google's Glass AR eyewear it tried to break into the mainstream with back in 2012.

Read this: Google Pixel Watch gets teased at Google I/O

The demo showed how the glasses were able to translate and transcribe languages including sign language, in real-time. In the impressive video (which you can see below), Google said it sought to break down language barriers using years of research and the work it's done with Google Translate to bring that technology to glasses.

What we could finally be seeing in this video is the influence of Google's acquisition of North, the startup that launched its own impressive Focals AR glasses. North was in the process of launching its second generation pair of smartglasses with a holographic display when Google swooped in and snapped it up.

Despite being burnt by the consumer edition of Glass, Google continues to pursue what it refers to as the next frontier of computing. It's already demonstrated uses of AR on Android phones through various apps and software and earlier this year it was heavily speculated that Google was building an AR headset codenamed Project Iris.

While Google Glass wasn't a consumer success, it still exists in the enterprise world with Glass Enterprise Edition 2 the latest iteration of the augmented reality eyewear.

Along with Google, Apple and Meta is also investing research time in AR and it seems the race is on to be the first to put genuinely useful augmented reality smarts into a eyewear people will actually want to don in public.

Google didn't offer any indication when these smartglasses might be on faces, so it might be some time yet still before we're travelling around with translating glasses.