In this ongoing series we explore the past, present and potential future of the largest players in the Metaverse. Today, we’re taking a look at Google.
Like Meta, Google hasn’t been around all that long, and certainly not as long as the likes of Microsoft and Apple. The American multinational technology company was founded on the 4th of September 1998, by Stanford University PhD students Larry Page and Sergey Brin. What began as an internet search engine research project soon turned into a multi-billion-dollar business. The domain name www.google.com was registered on the 15th of September 1997 and, by the 19th of August 2004, Google had become a public company with a market capitalization of more than $23 billion.
Google was one of the first companies to launch augmented reality (AR) glasses, a key Metaverse technology. In 2013, the company’s Google X division, now known as X Development, launched Google Glass, a pair of smart glasses that enabled users to check messages, make phone calls view photos, and search the Internet. Unfortunately for Google, excitement and enthusiasm over the product’s initial release quickly waned. This, alongside concerns about privacy and safety, led Google is ending sales of Google Glass in 2015.
In 2017, Google launched the Glass Enterprise Edition, which was followed up in 2019 with Glass Enterprise Edition 2. This product, as its name implies, is aimed toward enterprise customers, which means large business and companies, like GE, who have been using Google Glass to help mechanics assemble engines more accurately, and DHL, who have been using the smart glasses to support the vision picking process in warehouses.
In 2020, Google announced that it had acquired Canadian company North, a pioneer in human computer interfaces and smart glasses. North’s Focals smart glasses project information onto the right lens so it appears to float in your line of sight. Information includes things like time and date, messages, notifications, calendar events, task lists, and directions.
So, what role can we expect Google to play in realising the Metaverse? Well, we probably need to look no further than Google’s mission statement, which is “to organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful.” The promise of the Metaverse as a boundaryless, persistent, immersive, virtual world, will be one that needs a significant amount of organization. Just like Web 2.0 before it, we will need some way to search the Metaverse, to navigate the Metaverse, and find and discover new things.
Here at themetabite we see no better organisation to do this than Google. Google's algorithms, built into its smart glasses, will help us to navigate a physical world and it’s search engine, tuned to the Metaverse, will help us to navigate a near endless virtual world. What do you think? Please leave a comment below!