Google’s Project Starline will now be tested in the real world

    Project Starline was first unveiled by Google at last year’s Google I/O. The primary objective is to be able to sit in the booth and conduct a virtual discussion with anyone else without having to squint at a tiny Zoom window or wear a virtual reality headset. The booth simulates chatting with a “real” person by recording your appearance using cameras and sensors, allowing it to construct a 3D model for the person on the other end of the conversation.

    Google will begin rolling out Project Starline, its next-generation 3D video chat booth, to additional businesses later this year. According to a blog post, “business partners” such as Salesforce and T-Mobile will start making use of Starline as part of an early access program, with Google placing units of the booth in “chosen partner workplaces” for testing.

    “The proliferation of hybrid work models is creating new opportunities to fundamentally rethink how we collaborate in the workplace,” says Scott Morey, president of technology & innovation at WeWork. “Project Starline is at the forefront of this shift, providing an incredible user experience that bridges the gap between our physical and virtual worlds. At WeWork, we believe this technology has the potential to enrich the employee experience – making connections more intentional and meaningful.”

    When compared to typical video conferencing systems, the results suggest that Project Starline can boost employee involvement, attentiveness, and efficiency. People have characterized the experience as a normal interaction in which they expressed how linked they seemed to the person across from them.

    “In today’s digital-first world, companies need to provide the technology and tools to help employees be more productive and effective at work,” Andy White, SVP of Business Technology at Salesforce, tells us. “At Salesforce, we’re constantly exploring new ways to deliver incredible experiences to our employees and customers around the world. Project Starline has the potential to drive deeper connections between people by bridging in-person and virtual experiences.”

    Even though the project was announced about a year and a half ago, Google describes the extension to firms such as Salesforce and T-Mobile as the “next step of testing.” However, as numerous firms (including Google) migrate to a hybrid work paradigm, Project Starline may be a beneficial way to communicate with people you can’t interact with in person.

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