It was unveiled last week that Google is working on elevating the virtual meeting experience with its ongoing Project Starline, which brings a three-dimensional aspect to online video communication, it’s well-timed for a post-pandemic world but still has a long way to go in seamlessly marrying the in-person and the virtual, three people who have used the system say.
To bridge this gap between virtual communication using mainstream technology at our disposal and the reality of seeing someone face-to-face, Google has worked on what it calls Project Starline.
Starline uses pricey cameras, sensors, and cutting-edge screens to generate an illusion of depth, allowing users seated in special booths in different locations to see each other “life-size and in three dimensions,” as Google puts it. “You can talk naturally, gesture, and make eye contact.”
Alphabet’s Google and rivals, including Microsoft, Apple, and Facebook, all view “mixed reality,” as it is sometimes known, as the next big new wave in computing – following smartphones – and all are staking out the fresh ground.
Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai touted Starline during the company’s annual developer conference last week, saying the technology has been years in the making and boasts breakthrough depth sensors, displays, and media algorithms.
But Starline remains at an early stage: Google said it is planning trials with media and healthcare companies but did not identify them, nor did it announce pricing or say when the system would be generally available.