Limited AR Prototype Testing in Public

Limited AR Prototype Testing in Public

We recently announced that we plan to begin small-scale testing of AR prototypes in the real world. This Help Center article outlines the scope of our limited public testing.

Privacy and Safety at the Forefront

These public testing efforts adhere to Google’s privacy and safety measures. We will test a small number of AR prototypes in select areas in the US and Canada with strict limitations on where testers can operate, and the kinds of activities they can engage in. All testers must go through device, protocol, privacy and safety training.

Creating safe, trusted, and helpful AR products and services is not just about the user but also those around them. We have also implemented various measures to protect the privacy of bystanders.

Among the AR prototypes we are working on, we are currently testing ones that look like normal glasses with an in-lens display and visual and audio sensors. We are testing these prototypes to ensure device durability, optimize user experiences and improve overall helpfulness of potential smart glasses.

Update October 14, 2022

In August 2022, we began small-scale testing of AR prototypes by a few dozen Googlers and select trusted testers in limited public settings in the United States. In November 2022, we will extend this small-scale testing with select Googlers in Waterloo and Toronto, Canada under the same privacy and safety measures originally outlined. You can read more about what and how we’re testing in our Keyword blog post or in our FAQ below.

Program FAQs

What is limited AR prototype public testing?

  • Limited AR prototype testing allows selected participants to test new AR prototypes and services not available to the public.

Who is eligible to test AR prototypes?

  • At this time eligibility is limited to Googlers and select trusted testers. For more information on how you can participate in Google Research click this link.

What are you currently testing?

  • We are testing new experiences such as translation, transcription and navigation on AR prototypes. These research prototypes look like normal glasses, feature an in-lens display, and have audio and visual sensors, such as a microphone and camera.
  • We will be researching different use cases that use audio sensing, such as speech transcription and translation, and visual sensing, which uses image data for use cases such as translating text or positioning during navigation.

Do the AR prototypes support photography or videography? What is image data used for? How long is it stored?

  • No. Our AR prototypes don’t support photography or videography, though image data will be used to enable use cases like navigation, translation and visual search. For example, using the camera to translate the menu in front of you or show you directions to a nearby coffee shop, overlaying AR in your line of sight.
  • After the experience is completed, the image data is deleted, except if the image data will be used for analysis and debugging. In that case, the image data is first scrubbed for sensitive content, including faces and license plates. Then it is stored on a secure server, with limited access by a small number of Googlers for analysis and debugging. After 30 days, it is deleted.

How will I know if I’m in close proximity to products being tested?

  • An LED indicator will turn on if image data will be saved for analysis and debugging. If a bystander desires, they can ask the tester to delete the image data and it will be removed from all logs.

What specifically are you testing for?

  • Our goal is to develop great products that deliver help to users throughout their day. We will be researching software experiences to assess how useful and helpful these experiences are, and how to make them even better. For example, we will test experiences that include navigation, translation, transcription, and visual search.

Where is public testing being conducted?

  • We test in public settings in select areas of the US and Canada. We test in private in-lab settings, but also need to test beyond our labs and do limited-scope public testing. For any public testing, we impose strict limitations on where these AR prototypes can operate. Testers are prohibited from testing in schools, government buildings, healthcare locations, places of worship, social service locations, areas meant for children (e.g., schools and playgrounds), emergency response locations, rallies or protests, and other similar places.

Do Googlers test AR prototypes while driving?

  • No. Testers are prohibited from using AR prototypes while driving, operating heavy machinery, engaging in sports, etc.

What training do testers go through before testing AR prototypes beyond Google’s labs?

  • All testers go through rigorous device, protocol, privacy, and safety and device training before being able to use a prototype device. They learn about the limitations that have been placed on testing, and best practices for operating appropriately, safely and responsibly in a real-world environment.
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