Google Glass still getting upgrades, but still not for you

Glass Enterprise Edition 2
Image Credit: Google (Image credit: Image Credit: Google)

The story isn't over for Google Glass, the company's connected AR headset. Though the original product didn't make much of a splash, running into a bit of controversy with its awkward looks, Google didn't give up on it. The company instead transitioned it away from the consumer market with Glass Enterprise Edition. And, now Glass is getting another upgrade in the Glass Enterprise Edition 2 announced today by Google.

The new AR glasses have a few key improvements, with USB-C for faster charging, Bluetooth 5.0, Android Oreo (using the AOSP), and a new Qualcomm Snapdragon XR1 chip for improved computer vision and machine learning. The new chip should help save power while simultaneously boosting performance. 

The Glass team has also worked with Smith Optics on special safety frames, opening the product up for more work environments.

All work and no play

While it sounds like the Glass is coming along, even becoming mainstream enough for the team behind it to shift back to Google from parent company Alphabet's Google X program, it's still not a consumer gadget.

The technology is progressing, and more powerful computer vision is showing up all over the place, from self-driving cars to smartphone cameras. But between the Glass Enterprise Edition 2 and Microsoft's HoloLens 2, the safest bet for viability is still enterprise – at least for now.

Most average consumers who need AR tools won't need them constantly on-hand, and as rudimentary AR tools start appearing on smartphones, they have little reason to buy a $1,000-plus device. Even for those few consumers who could justify buying a pair of glasses with a built-in camera to share footage with friends, there's the much more affordable Snapchat Spectacles to meet their needs.

So, even as Google Glass gets a big upgrade and moves from X back to Google, the awaited future where we use augmented reality glasses in our day-to-day lives isn't here yet – but we might start looking for it in the workplace.

Mark Knapp

Over the last several years, Mark has been tasked as a writer, an editor, and a manager, interacting with published content from all angles. He is intimately familiar with the editorial process from the inception of an article idea, through the iterative process, past publishing, and down the road into performance analysis.