Google’s Project Starline promises to deliver a virtual video call that shows another person, life-size and in three dimensions. Although the technology hasn’t yet been officially released to the broader public, what could it mean for video recruitment moving forward?
Being together has never been more difficult
Whether it be conversations with family, friends or colleagues. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face communication has been sorely missed by all of us. While Teams and Zoom offered immediate solutions, virtual fatigue seems to be real. In short: genuinely being together seems harder than ever before.
Enter one of Google’s latest endeavours, which aims to deliver a new product unlike any other video communication service we’ve ever experienced.
And although employees have proven to be more productive overall, a model based solely on Zoom and Teams clearly isn’t the way to remain for colleagues to stay connected. Enter one of Google’s latest endeavours…
It’s called Project Starline. Through an application of computer vision, machine learning, spatial audio and real-time compression, Google has created an experience wherein it truly feels like you’re sat across from the person you’re calling. It aims to deliver a new product unlike any other video communication service we’ve ever experienced. Google has reportedly worked on the program for years, but only published its announcement in May 2021.
“Project Starline is currently available in just a few of our offices. It relies on custom-built hardware and highly specialised equipment”, the company says. “We believe this is where person-to-person communication technology can and should go. And in time, our goal is to make this technology more affordable and accessible. Including bringing some of these technical advancements into our suite of communication products.”
‘Virtual meetings are here to stay’
Whether used by those recruiting or onboarding colleagues remotely — Walter Hueber, CEO and co-founder of popular video recruitment solution Cammio, is certain of the added benefit. “Virtual meetings are here to stay”, he says. “Many of us knew that before COVID, but now everyone knows. And it seems particularly apt for recruitment. Candidates were once asked to take half a day off work for more on a conversation that would last an hour. That is now a thing of the past.”
“The challenge is, and always will be, the webcam.”
But as internet connections cut out, hair gets eaten by blurry backgrounds, people get tired of staring into their own face. Video efficiency also comes paired with a few deficiencies. “The challenge is, and always will be, the webcam”, Hueber says. “We’ve seen a couple of ‘clunky’ solutions come through. But the fact of the matter is: we don’t really look at each other online. It means we miss a big part of the non-verbal communication, and the experience overall.”
‘It’s about getting it into houses’
Hueber is enthusiastic about the prospect of a type of real-time 3D rendering software, but sees one obstacle in the way of a mass-adoption: getting the tech into the homes of people. “I think it would be fantastic to see technology that allows for a virtual togetherness to be even more realistic”, he says. “But similar to Google’s first shown imagery of Project Starline, the tech now only works on-location.”
“I think it would be fantastic to see technology that allows for a virtual togetherness to be even more realistic.”
“The first-ever video recruitment solutions in the United States were, in essence, rooms that were rented with a video-link”, Hueber adds. “It made sure you didn’t have to travel too far, but it still required some travel. Only when we got webcams into people’s houses, were we able to benefit remotely. That won’t be any different for Project Starline.”
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