Google Glass is back! Google teases smart glasses among its AI announcements

Google teases what looks awfully like a new generation of Google Glass in its latest promo video

Is this Google Glass's next generation?
(Image credit: Future)

If you go down to Google I/O today, you're in for a big surprise: a device made for your eyes. Our colleagues at Techradar have spotted something interesting in the promo video for the new Gemini AI features: what appears to be a set of smart glasses. 

Could Google Glass be back?

The video section is short and doesn't cast a lot of light on what we're looking at, but it does show someone picking up a set of Glass-esque specs before the clip switches to what appears to be the view from their eyes. The wearer asks what they're looking at, and Google's AI scans the image of two cartoon cats, one alive and one dead, and concludes: "Schrödinger's cat."

Given the wealth of new AI features Google announced yesterday, it would be an odd move for the video to feature a product that Google isn't working on. So the question is: what is Google working on?

AI is the missing feature Google Glass lacked

We already know that Google and Samsung are working on spatial headset experiences with a little help from the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2+ Gen 2 platform. But that appears to be an AR/VR headset programme rather like the Vision Pro, not an AR smart glasses one – and Google canned its Iris AR glasses, which were believed to resemble a set of ski goggles, last year. So whatever we're seeing in the video is neither of those projects.

The glasses in the video look heftier than normal spectacles, but considerably less chunky than any headset design. And given their ability to recognise images, there's clearly cameras in the frames much like Meta's smart glasses – although those glasses are one-way only and don't display any information on the lenses.

With Google I/O still ongoing, it's possible that the tease will be followed by something more substantial this week: smart glasses that actually work are a really interesting idea, and if Google's various AI tools are as good as they appear to be in the promo videos then they could well deliver the functionality that just didn't exist when the original Google Glass product was launched. That's something Google will want to shout about.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).