Google’s Project Starline is an experimental system for immersive video chatting that aims to close the distance between people without needing an AR or VR headset. At Google’s annual Cloud Next conference, the company announced it’s rolling out the booth-sized device in early access to select enterprise partners, officially taking it beyond the walls of Google’s offices for the first time.

The company says in a blogpost that early access to Project Starline is starting this year, with the installation of prototypes at the offices of Salesforce, WeWork, T-Mobile, and Hackensack Meridian Health.

Project Starline provides a glasses-free 3D chatting experience thanks to its host of sensors, light-field display, spatial audio, computer vision, and novel compression to make the whole experience possible over the web. The end effect is you get to have a natural face-to-face conversation with another person, including eye contact.

Starline prototypes have already been in use in Google offices across the US since late 2021, something the company says aims to increase employee presence, attentiveness, and productivity compared to traditional video calling solutions. Since then, Google says it’s showed off the tech to 100 enterprise partners in areas such as media, healthcare, and retail to see where it needs to improve.

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“As we build the future of hybrid work together with our enterprise partners, we look forward to seeing how Project Starline can help employees form strong ties with one another, doctors form meaningful bonds with their patients, and salespeople make deeper connections with their clients and customers,” says Andrew Nartker, Starline’s Director of Product Management. “Whether you’re presenting to a colleague or just sitting down for a coffee chat, we want the Project Starline experience to feel natural, as if the person is sitting in the same room as you. More broadly, we are eager to enable workforces to feel energized and productive when collaborating from afar.”

The company says it will share more about its early access program at some point next year, as it no doubt aims to further tailor Starline into a shippable product.

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  • Merman

    It’s just a testing device, google never said they were going to release it in this state.

  • Bob

    Is it a lenticular display?

    • dk

      some type of lightfield display like the looking glass factory displays

  • sfmike

    This is only useful as a demo at a science museum or EPCOT.

    • kool

      Or prison calls lol.

    • Andrew Jakobs

      Not really, I really do see the benefit in this for better communication then a simpel webcam. For now the tech is too expensive, but as time will pass it will get better and cheaper. Don’t underestimate the importance of 3D in social interactions, the more realistic/natural the interaction is the better it is for our mental health.

      • Badison

        What about vr or ar instead of an entire booth?

        • Andrew Jakobs

          That would require roomscale camera’s and ofcourse not everybody likes to have a headset on their face.

  • Andrew Jakobs

    All technology has to start somewhere, look at mobile phones, 30 years ago they were larger than a stone brick. In time this technology will be possible with a ‘normal’ large tv in your livingroom/office, or with AR glasses.

  • I think in its current status, it is totally useless

  • Badison

    Seems cool, but look at the setting. 1:1s only? How much does it cost? Does the room have to be booked? Cleaned?

    Forget it.