Was Google Glass Ahead of Its Time? Sergey Brin's Take on Google's New Astra AI

Was Google Glass Ahead of Its Time? Sergey Brin's Take on Google's New Astra AI

Google co-founder Sergey Brin is no stranger to the company. Google I/O developer conference. In 2012, he famously led a parachute demo. Introducing Google Glass. Although there was no such commotion on Tuesday, Byrne showed up for the first day of the conference and interacted with reporters and attendees.

“It's funny, because it's like perfect hardware,” Brin told a crowd that included CNET after going through a demo of Google's Project Astra AI software. “It's like the killer app now, 10 years later.”

Google demoed Project Astra alongside the announcement. A number of new AI products At its annual conference that included updates to its Gemini AI model, search optimization and ways to help AI in everyday tasks. Like summarizing threads in Gmail.

Asked if Glass would make a return, Byrne said, “We'll have to think about it.” But he admits that “hands-free is the idea” when it comes to the Astra. He noted that companies have created AI clips and devices, possibly a reference to this Human AI And Rabbit R1but he said that the glass's “form factor was great” and that he wished it had “timed it a little better.”

More from Google I/O 2024

He also said that the “wearable” is “more ideal hardware” than a phone like the one shown in the Project Astra video.

Reported by The Wall Street Journal Last year, Brin returned to the company he co-founded to work on Google's AI products, including Gemini, the model Google used heavily throughout Tuesday's event.

Google demoed the Astra with experimental Glass in a video, but Byrne said he didn't know what the product was. “But now there are a lot of companies and a lot of displays that are quite interesting, so we'll see how people use them,” he said.

Byrne noted that many of the demos Google showed were based on the same Gemini Pro 1.5 AI model, which he said was “really exciting and surprising,” that “these AI models are so Can be general purpose bats.”

In a wide-ranging conversation, Byrne said he saw OpenAI's ChatGPT 4o announcement, but he hadn't had a chance to play with it yet. As for how AI fits into his life today, Byrne says he uses it “a lot for coding” and that using Gemini for that purpose is “kind of unusual.”

A phone is looking at a computer monitor, communicating with an AI assistant with a camera.

Google also showed Astra on phones and camera-enabled glasses.


In a discussion with one of his team members, a colleague asked how good AI would be at solving Sudoku puzzles. So Byrne decided to put him to the test. “And I just said, 'Well, why am I not watching?' And I actually had to write a piece of code to make it Sudoku puzzles, and then test the solutions.”

Coding, in Brin's view, is the “No. 1” use of AI today.

Sergey Brin at Google I/O 2024 Sergey Brin at Google I/O 2024

Eli Blumenthal/CNET

“It wasn't completely flawless,” he said, referring to the use of AI for coding. “But (there were) some minor issues that I cleared up right away. It was amazing.”

When it comes to AI deception, Byrne says it's a “huge problem” but that it's “shrinking” and that he “wouldn't be surprised if there were some significant developments that would actually, you know, would have given the order.—improvement in severity.”

While he was retired, Byrne seems to have been reinvigorated by the opportunity to shape AI. “It's just such an exciting time,” he said, noting that it's what brought him out of the brief retirement he entered before COVID. “With this AI boom… being a computer scientist, I want to be a part of it. It's exciting. And yes, it's a treat,” he said.

“I can't imagine a better time to be a computer scientist, and I feel very fortunate to be able to see the details of how these things work,” he said.

Editors' note: CNET used an AI engine to help generate several dozen stories, labeled accordingly. The note you are reading is linked to articles that are related to the topic of AI but are entirely created by our expert editors and writers. For more, see our AI Policy.

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