Google Discontinues Glass Enterprise Edition Smartglasses

Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2, the company’s work-focused version of its iconic but once maligned smartglasses, is being discontinued.

Google says in a device support FAQ that, starting March 15th, it will no longer sell Glass Enterprise 2, adding that it will only support the device until September 15th, 2023.

While the company says it’s not pushing out any more software for Glass Enterprise Edition after that date, however its most recent system images will remain publicly available until at least April 1st, 2024.

Launched in 2017, Google Glass for enterprise was a revival of sorts, as the company had ceased production of the storied device in 2015.

Google Glass Explorer Edition | Image courtesy Alphabet

Starting in 2012, the company was hoping to seed the device among prosumers with its Glass Explorer Editions, although public backlash spawned the term “glasshole,” putting a severe dent in Google’s ambitions to launch a more consumer-focused version of the device.

Google hasn’t explained why it’s killing off Glass for enterprise. In response to PC Mag, a Google spokesperson left this comment:

“For years, we’ve been building AR into many Google products and we’ll continue to look at ways to bring new, innovative AR experiences across our product portfolio.”

To be fair, Google probably has bigger fish to fry, and the aging smartglasses platform may well be replaced sooner rather than later. Google said last summer it would be conducting real world tests of its early AR prototypes, emphasizing things like real-time translation and AR turn-by-turn navigation.

There’s also the issue of emerging competition. Apple’s upcoming mixed reality (MR) headset is rumored to arrive sometime in mid-2023, while Meta is prepping multiple generations of its MR Quest headsets.

Granted, these MR headsets probably won’t be the model workhorses, although many companies see MR headsets as a steppingstone in preparation for the sort of all-day AR glasses industry is hoping to commercialize in the near future.

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To be clear, Google Glass is a style of smartglass(es) and not an AR device as such; Glass provides a single heads-up display (HUD) that doesn’t place digital imagery naturally in the user’s perceived environment, like with HoloLens 2 or Magic Leap 2, but rather flatly projects the sort of useful information you might also see on a smartwatch. You can learn more about the differences between AR headsets and smartglasses here.

AI war breaks out between tech giants

(Image by Maria Korolov via Midjourney.)

After ChatGPT was released on Nov. 30, 2022, the world changed. Whatever you might personally think about AI, the events of last year showed that AI was capable of human-level creativity in art, music, writing, and coding. And, for the first time, AI demonstrated common sense. Or, at least, something close enough to common sense for all practical purposes.

Companies like Google that had been sitting on their AI projects for years, unwilling to do any damage to their existing business models, are having to rethink their plans.

Google announced a Code Red and brought cofounders Sergey Brin and Larry Page back from retirement. It has also invested $400 million in OpenAI rival Anthropic, which has its own version of ChatGPT called Claude, which is in closed beta but early users say it’s better.

Apple is holding an AI summit for employees next week, the company’s first live and in-person event in years.

Microsoft takes the lead

“The AI race starts today,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at a press conference today.

The company announced that it’s integrating AI chat into the Bing search engine and its Edge browser — after it invested a reported $10 billion into ChatGPT maker OpenAI last month. The company has also previously announced plans to integrate AI throughout its entire portfolio products.

Adding AI chat to Bing, however, is a direct shot at Google’s bow.

“We can improve the way billions of people use the Internet,” said Yusuf Mehdi, Microsoft’s consumer chief marketing officer, in today’s presentation.

As of the end of 2022, Bing only had a 9 percent share of the search engine market. Google had 85 percent, and the rest was split between Yahoo, Baidu, Yandex, DuckDuckGo and other competitors, all of whom were in the low single digits.

So Bing has a lot of opportunity for improvement.

And speaking of Baidu, a Chinese search engine, it also plans to launch its own AI chatbot, called Ernie Bot. According to CNN, it’s expected to go live in March and is currently being tested internally.

‘The metaverse will be our slow death!’ Is Facebook losing its $100bn gamble on virtual reality?

The company now known as Meta has spent staggering amounts on creating an immersive successor to the traditional 2D internet. But what has it got to show for it, apart from 11,000 job losses?

What a difference a year makes. Last October, Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg could barely wait to show the world what he was up to. “Today, we’re going to talk about the metaverse,” he enthused in a slick video presentation. “I want to share what we imagine is possible.” Transitioning almost seamlessly from his real self into a computer-generated avatar, Zuckerberg guided us through his vision for the virtual-reality future: playing poker in space with your buddies; sharing cool stuff; having work meetings and birthday parties with people on the other side of the world; customising your avatar (the avatars had no legs, which was weird). Zuckerberg was so all-in on the metaverse, he even rechristened his company Meta.

This month, we saw a more subdued Zuckerberg on display: “I wanna say upfront that I take full responsibility for this decision,” he told employees morosely. “This was ultimately my call and it was one of the hardest calls that I’ve had to make in the 18 years of running the company.” Meta was laying off 11,000 people – 13% of its workforce. Poor third-quarter results had seen Meta’s share price drop by 25%, wiping $80bn off the company’s value. Reality Labs, Meta’s metaverse division, had lost $3.7bn in the past three months, with worse expected to come. It wasn’t all bad news, though: Zuckerberg announced last month that Meta avatars would at last be getting legs.

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‘Extinction is on the table’: Jaron Lanier warns of tech’s existential threat to humanity

The American computer scientist, who coined the term ‘virtual reality,’ cautions against online ‘psychological operatives’

Jaron Lanier, the eminent American computer scientist, composer and artist, is no stranger to skepticism around social media, but his current interpretations of its effects are becoming darker and his warnings more trenchant.

Lanier, a dreadlocked free-thinker credited with coining the term “virtual reality”, has long sounded dire sirens about the dangers of a world over-reliant on the internet and at the increasing mercy of tech lords, their social media platforms and those who work for them.

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Google Previews ‘Prototype’ Glasses For Live AR Translation

Google’s keynote presentation at its annual developer’s conference closed out with a video showcasing a prototype live translation service on AR glasses.

The video shows Google product managers handing prototype glasses to research participants, “my mother speaks Mandarin and I speak English,” one of the participants explains, with the video showing “a simulated point of view” to bring across the concept of how the glasses could essentially enable real-time subtitles as a translation service next to the face, theoretically allowing people to maintain eye contact more while speaking.

While no details were revealed about the actual specifications of the glasses, the video continued a theme from the event of Google seeking to enhance or augment interactions in the physical world, in stark contrast from a few years ago when Google supported the development of virtual worlds with Daydream. The language Google executives used during the presentation also seemed to contrast with Meta’s current push toward the “metaverse.”

“We’ve been building augmented reality into many Google products, from Google Lens to multisearch, scene exploration, and Live and immersive views in Maps,” Alphabet and Google CEO Sundar Pichai wrote. “These AR capabilities are already useful on phones and the magic will really come alive when you can use them in the real world without the technology getting in the way.”

AR glasses face severe constraints in terms of battery consumption, heat dissipation, brightness, and field of view that seem to place the timelines for true consumer-oriented standalone AR glasses out into the future at least a couple years. Still, in a process that’s been building for a long time, we’re seeing technology giants begin to ready their existing services to power this coming augmented reality platform which Pichai called “the next frontier of computing.”

Google Acquires MicroLED Startup Raxium to Bolster AR Ambitions

Google is adding to its portfolio of XR microdisplay designs and talent, as the company announced it’s acquired microLED (µLED) designer Raxium.

The acquisition was previously reported by The Information in March, however now Google has confirmed in a blog post that it has indeed acquired Raxium, a five-year old startup building microdisplays for use in AR and VR headsets.

The Information’s report held Raxium was sold to Google for $1 billion, however official details of the acquisition are still murky. Google says Raxium will join its Devices & Services team, which is tasked with development of Google’s consumer devices.

Image courtesy Raxium, Google

It’s thought that Raxium will allow for Google to create lighter, cheaper displays for its upcoming AR devices. While conventional Super AMOLEDs found in smartphones measure around 50 µm per pixel, Raxium says it’s shrunk its microdisplays to feature µLED measuring 3.5 µm per pixel. The company claims its technology has led to an efficiency “5X greater than the previously published world record.”

“The team at Raxium has spent five years creating miniaturized, cost-effective and energy efficient high-resolution displays that have laid the foundation for future display technologies. Raxium’s technical expertise in this area will play a key role as we continue to invest in our hardware efforts,” says Rick Osterloh, senior VP of Google’s Devices & Services team.

Google is undoubtedly gearing up to release XR headsets of some type in the future, which may compete with devices from Apple, Meta, Microsoft and Snap. In 2020, Google acquired North, a Canada-based company known for creating unobtrusive prescription-compatible smartglasses—a sight more stylish than Google Glass. Check out our primer on the difference between smartglasses and AR headsets to learn more.

Earlier this year Google snapped up Bernard Kress, principal optical architect on the Microsoft HoloLens team. Kress is now the Director of XR Engineering at Google Labs, an internal XR division founded late last year. According to previous reports, Google Labs is currently working on an AR headset, code named Project Iris, which is rumored to ship sometime in 2024.

Reports detailing Project Iris maintain a device providing a standalone experience with onboard power, computing, and outward-facing cameras for world sensing capabilities—similar in description and function to headsets like HoloLens or Magic Leap.

The post Google Acquires MicroLED Startup Raxium to Bolster AR Ambitions appeared first on Road to VR.

Top 8 Uses for Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a technology with a dizzying range of potential applications. And as new and more powerful AR hardware enters the market (such as Apple’s mooted glasses), we’re likely to see even more uses for AR. 

That’s not to say that AR, as it exists today, is any slouch, and to prove it we’re looking at eight of the best uses for augmented reality.

Virtual try-ons

The retail industry has been one of the most prominent embracers of AR technology over at least the past decade. Most of the industry’s biggest brands offer some form of the technology, which allows prospective buyers to see how a product would look on them without needing to physically try it on, usually utilising the ubiquitous phone camera to display the virtual elements in real-time.

Prominent virtual try-on examples include make-up from Maybelline, clothing from ASOS and Zeekit, and shoes from Vyking.

Vyking AR Shoes
Image Credit: Vyking


Augmented Reality has found a natural home in the gaming industry, where it has powered some huge mobile game successes including Pokemon Go and Pikmin Bloom, both from developer Niantic.

Pokemon Go in particular was a smash hit, peaking at over 250 million players per month on the back of an experience that transported the gameplay of the popular Pokemon video game series to real-world locations. That built on work the developer had done in its previous game Ingress, which allowed players to use their mobile phones to interact with virtual portals appearing in real-world locations as part of its science fiction story.


AR is a key tool in the construction industry, from the design stage right through to the actual building process. For architecture, numerous tools exist to aid in the visualisation of spaces, such as The Wild, which allows designers to view 3D models in both virtual and augmented reality.

On the building side of the equation, AR has uses ranging from training workers on safety to progress capture and tracking functionality that directly compares real-world sites with virtual models in real-time to ensure they aren’t deviating.

Image credit: VisualLive


The high-stakes field of surgery is being revolutionised by augmented reality technology which can overlay vital information onto a surgeon’s field of view as they work. Mixed reality headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens 2 allow surgeons to operate on patients more effectively, blending the real world with projections of computed Tomography (CT), and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the patients.

Holographic representations of the area being operated on can also be observed in 3D before surgery takes place to ensure a surgeon has full familiarity of the area they are working on. To find out more about the role of AR in healthcare, read our article on the subject.

The tricky business of finding your way around busy spaces has been much improved with the help of AR, such as the Live View feature offered by Google Maps, which takes existing data from the map app and overlays it on the camera’s view of the real world with help from your phone’s GPS capabilities.

Individual locations have also explored using augmented reality to help guide visitors, such as Gatwick Airport, which installed navigational beacons that guide a passenger’s way back in 2018 – all accessed via a smartphone app.

Google Maps AR / Google Lens
Image credit: Google


From a school setting to on-the-job training, AR can be used to help learners safely interact with materials they would otherwise not be able to gain access to, all while remaining in a familiar setting. Google debuted augmented reality search during the COVID-19 pandemic to help people learn by placing virtual objects such as spacesuits and animals into real-world locations. A host of apps exist to bring similar objects into a classroom setting, including the Merge Cube, which adds tactility to the experience.

Energy giants such as Shell, meanwhile, are using AR to educate workers in the field by bringing in experts who can see through a worker’s eyes and even draw on the screen of the augmented reality display they are using, boosting safety as they interact with potentially dangerous heavy oil and gas equipment.


Designers at all levels are making use of AR to preview how a space will look before any changes are made physically, from those designing individual rooms all the way up to those planning cities.
Non-professionals too can make use of augmented reality to aid in their designs. Just one example is furniture store IKEA’s IKEA Place app which allows users to place 3D models of the company’s goods into their own rooms in order to preview how they would look, automatically scaling them based on the room’s dimensions to ensure they are true to life.

IKEA Place AR app. Image credit: Ikea


AR is one of the key pillars underpinning the phenomenon of Industry 4.0, alongside such technologies as machine learning and big data. Consultants PwC has estimated that industrial manufacturing and design is one of the biggest potential areas for augmented and virtual reality, with their use in the industry having the potential to deliver a $360bn GDP boost by 2030.
As a result, examples of the technology in action for manufacturing are easy to come by. One example is Boeing’s use of augmented reality to give technicians real-time, hands-free, interactive 3D wiring diagrams. Lockheed Martin also utilised augmented reality in the creation of NASA’s Orion Spacecraft, overlaying information to help with mission-critical procedures such as precisely aligning fasteners.

How 10 Big Tech Companies are Adopting Web3 Technology

The Web3 model proposes an overhaul of our current state of the internet — one which will allow users to see greater ownership of their assets and connect with software without the need for intermediaries. However, where does this place our most-used intermediaries — such as Facebook, Twitter, Amazon and Spotify?

As our current version of the web continues to evolve, it appears that executives and leaders at Big Tech firms have started finding ways to apply cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to their business models. Also, with large blockchain platforms (such as Polygon and Circle) now hiring some of the world’s top talent, it’s become abundantly clear that new roles and departments will need to be created for Web3.

Let’s take a look at 10 Big Tech companies that have started, or plan to start adopting Web3 technology in the near future.


At this point in time, this one probably needs no introduction — we all know about Mark Zuckerberg’s plans to turn his social media empire into a leading metaverse platform. Last October, Zuckerberg officially unveiled the company’s rebrand from Facebook to Meta, claiming that the new name would better reflect the company’s shift in gears.

Photo by © Lets Design Studio –

Upon announcing the rebrand, Zuckerberg touched on his goals to bring Meta to the forefront of a more decentralised and interoperable web model: “Together, we can finally put people at the centre of our technology. And together, we can unlock a massively bigger creator economy.”

However, so far things haven’t boded well for Meta’s adoption of crypto assets. After a series of controversies and an ultimately abandoned plan to launch its own coin, Zuckerberg hasn’t yet given up on trying to cement Meta’s role in the crypto space — with reports that the tech giant has filed 8 trademark applications within the last month. Amongst these trademark applications are crypto tokens, crypto trading, wallets, blockchain software and crypto exchanges.


As Web3-based music platforms have risen to the fore, word about Spotify’s entry into the Web3 fray has finally caught wind. The music streaming leader has recently posted a series of Web3-based job openings on their official website — including roles for managers, engineers and other experts in emerging trends — “especially as [they] relate” to creators, Web3 and other technologies.” 

Given that a growing list of artists have also started selling their work as NFTs, it’s no surprise that Spotify is creating its own foray into Web3. After facing accusations of not giving artists the lion’s share of their revenue, NFTs have also started presenting new ways for artists to monetise their work. Whether Spotify will create a marketplace for NFTs is yet to be seen — but after artists such as Snoop Dogg, Grimes and Kings of Leon have seen success with music NFT sales, there’s a high likelihood that we will see the streaming giant adopt some kind of Web3 model in the near future.


Many of those new to the Web3 space have probably wondered: what exactly does one do with an NFT image, besides trying to sell it? Setting it up as a profile picture seems to be another popular way for owners to showcase their status and general ownership of the popular digital asset. And out of all the Big Tech platforms, Twitter seems to be the one looking to capitalise on this new phenomenon.

Photo by © mundissima –

“Twitter is where people go to talk about things they care about — and often where people have their first experience with crypto and NFTs,” a company spokesperson has recently said in an official announcement. Moreover, they’ve noted how more users have started using NFTs “as a form of identity and self-expression, and as a way to join the thriving community and increasingly active conversation on Twitter.”

Those subscribed to Twitter Blue service will have the option to choose an NFT as their profile picture — and those with verified NFTs will now see them appear on their profile as a hexagon shape.

At the time of writing, however, there are still a number of barriers to setting up an NFT as a profile picture on Twitter. For example, the feature is currently only available to those who use iPhones and to those who live in the U.S. Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Also, only NFTs minted on Ethereum and stored on OpenSea are compatible with the service.

While it wouldn’t be right to classify Twitter as a Web3 company until it runs on a blockchain, its adoption of NFT technology is still proof that the company wants to find their footing in Web3.


In February 2022, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet — Google’s parent company — announced that the company is exploring ways to integrate blockchain technology into its flagship products and services. More specifically, Pichai mentioned a number of interest areas — with hints at adding more AR-based features to its applications and exploring ways for blockchain technology to add greater support to popular services, such as Google Maps and YouTube.

Alphabet’s cloud team (a growing area of business that competes with Microsoft and Amazon Web Services) has also expressed interest in finding ways to “support customer needs” through blockchain-powered platforms. 

On building Web3 technology into its services, Pichai has also commented: “Anytime there’s innovation, I find it exciting — and I think it is something we want to support the best we can. […] The web has always evolved, and it’s going to continue to evolve, and as Google, we have benefitted tremendously from open-source technologies, so we do plan to contribute there.”


In December 2021, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, claimed that the company had plans to “actively explore” NFTs in order to bring Web3 technology to a bigger audience. In an Instagram Story released that month, Mosseri further elaborated on the benefits of bringing NFTs into the platform: “I think it’s an interesting place that we can play and also to hopefully help creators.”

At SXSW this year, Mark Zuckerberg also announced the tech giant’s plans to introduce NFTs into Instagram in the “near term”. While Zuckerberg kept his details sparse, he’s hinted at the addition of NFTs into the platform’s ecosystem.

In a conversation with Shark Tank’s Daymond John, Zuckerberg also mentioned that he was “working on bringing NFTs to Instagram in the near term.” He continued: “I’m not ready to announce exactly what that’s going to be today, but over the next several months, the ability to bring some of your NFTs in, and hopefully over time be able to mint things within that environment.”


In March 2021, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced the availability of Ethereum on Amazon Managed Blockchain — a fully-managed service that allows users “to join public networks or set up and manage scalable private networks using popular open-source frameworks.” 

Photo by © Shalstock –

Amazon Managed Blockchain also gets rid of any overhead required for users to create or join a public network, scaling automatically to meet the demands of applications running millions of transactions. Once a network is up and running, Managed Blockchain makes it easier for users to manage their blockchain network — including the ability to manage certificates and invite new members.


Despite a growing list of his digs at Web3, Elon Musk’s electric vehicle company has still recently deployed blockchain technology for a special use case. One of these includes a platform that aims to create a “transparent, open and global registry” to track cobalt from mine to battery, assuring that the volume of any traceable material is understood in the production of electric vehicle batteries.

It was also recently announced at the Bitcoin 2022 Conference that both Blockstream and Block have begun the construction of a pilot crypto mine in Texas, which will be powered by Tesla’s solar installation and batteries. Blockstream CEO Adam Back further detailed the project, claiming that the pilot aims to show how bitcoin (BTC) mining has the ability to fund renewable energy initiatives.


In 2021, leading e-commerce platform Shopify launched a beta version of its NFT-compatible marketplace — allowing merchants to mint and sell NFT collectables on various different blockchains. The option to purchase NFTs using cryptocurrency was also made available to buyers. 

Shopify has also been integrating AR-selling functionalities into its digital storefronts since 2018. More recently, however, it acquired the team behind Primer — an AR-based, home-design startup.

As known Web3 enthusiasts and NFT collectors, Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke and president Harley Finkelstein have already been quite vocal about their enthusiasm for Web3. Finkelstein has commented: “I think the future of retail, the future of commerce, is going to happen everywhere, on every surface area. That may be online, in the metaverse, AR, or VR. It may be offline at a beautiful boutique or a great farmers market.”


Jack Dorsey’s growing fintech company Block (formerly known as Square) has announced its plans to start mining for bitcoin — with a goal to make the process more efficient and accessible. Thomas Templeton, the company’s general hardware manager, has revealed the company’s overarching goal to create a future that is “fully decentralised and permissionless.”

bitcoin cryptocurrency mining farm

In a tweet posted in October 2021, Dorsey vocalised his belief that: “mining should be more distributed.” Furthermore, he commented that: “The more decentralised this is, the more resilient the bitcoin network becomes.”

To solve the issue of mining rings being expensive, difficult to find and hard to deliver, the company is also open to building a new ASIC — the specialised gear used to mine for bitcoin. With the help of Tesla’s technology, Block also plans to carry out its cryptocurrency mining on deregulated power grids found within Texas — an area where they’re more likely to see cheaper energy sources.


Last year, Sony filed several patents that would allow it to accept cryptocurrencies for e-sports betting in-game. Details have revealed that the patent would accept both physical and digital currencies for in-game betting, also coming with a system that would allow players to bet in real-time while participating in e-sports games. Betting odds would be determined by AI, based on each competing player’s play history.

It also appears that this patent doesn’t seem to be exclusive to PlayStation consoles. Sony has since mentioned that it would be willing to carry this technology over to consoles “made by Microsoft or Nintendo or other manufacturer virtual reality (VR) headsets, augmented reality (AR) headsets, portable televisions, portable computers such as laptops and tablet computers, and other mobile devices — including smartphones.”

To keep learning more about Big Tech’s advancements into the Web3 space and all things NFT and metaverse-related, be sure to keep reading gmw3.