Back in 2015, Google shuttered its Google Glass website and it seemed like the end for the company’s grand vision of a heads-up display you could wear at all times. It turns out, though, Google was just taking the wearable out of the public eye for a couple of years to dress it up in a nice suit and tie and re-release it with business focussed ambitions.
Google Glass Enterprise Edition has been revealed (opens in new tab) by Alphabet X and instead of targeting it towards a public that just isn’t interested, it’s pushing it towards businesses where it’s likely to have much more success.
Google Glass Explorer Edition was a product that, conceptually at least, had a lot of promise – a heads-up display that could become the personal computer you could access anywhere.
Unfortunately, a lack of clarity of purpose, privacy concerns, serious cost issues and a somewhat-uncomfortable design meant that it didn’t have the mass market appeal Google hoped it would.
Practical and professional
Though the public weren’t interested, however, businesses were and Google was able to continue to supply the glasses to US companies such as GE Aviation, Boeing DHL and AGCO. These businesses were able to integrate the glasses into their work environments in a practical way and reported marked efficiency increases and paperwork decreases as a result of using the technology.
From their feedback, Google has been able to develop an Enterprise Edition of the wearable that’s been upgraded and re-designed with work environments in mind. Now the device is lighter and more comfortable to wear with a better camera, improved battery life, faster Wi-Fi and more processing power.
Different companies are able to benefit from Google Glass Enterprise Edition in different ways by creating customized apps with Google and its developers.
GE, for example, give the glasses to their mechanics who are able to watch instructional videos and animations as they work which lessens the time spent consulting computers for their next steps.
DHL has brought Google Glass into its warehouses to speed up the supply chain process. Rather than having to constantly refer to paper instructions to see where orders have to be placed, they have the information displayed in real-time. Apparently this has increased efficiency by 15%.
In healthcare, doctors are saying they’re able to give their patients more time and attention as a remote scribe app from Augmedix is able to take all of their patient notes for them and reduce their administrative duties.
Despite this newfound success, it’s unlikely that Google Glass is going to reappear in the public sphere any time soon if ever. That said, the device’s consumer team still exists so never say never. In the meantime you're going to have to wear your Snapchat Spectacles and like them.
The plan is to expand on the Enterprise Edition’s small roll out and open it up to more businesses, eventually collaborating with the Google Cloud team. We'll be keeping a close eye on its performance to see if it has more luck in its latest iteration.