Google recently released a new version of the Google Glass, its bulky smart glasses that flopped upon release in 2012.
At its initial launch, Google Glass “Explorers Edition” offered hands-free access to the internet, maps, calendars, a camera, and more. The glasses were perfect for anyone who always needed a device in front of his or her face.
The glasses failed to generate much of a following among consumers for a variety of reasons, including their clunky design, lack of practicality, privacy concerns, and a $1,500 price tag. The nickname “Glassholes” for early adopters probably didn’t help, either.
By 2015, Google had hit pause on its eyewear ambitions — but only temporarily.
In 2017, it announced the “Enterprise Edition,” which Google marketed as an industrial tool, rather than a consumer product. The Enterprise Edition, with an even more ostentatious design than Explorers, aimed to increase efficiency and reduce worker errors by allowing users to view instructions and checklists hands-free.
Google has continued refining this technology. In May, it released the Enterprise’s second edition. It features an improved camera, more powerful processor, longer battery life, artificial-intelligence engine, and a lower price of $999.
Plataine, an Israeli software company, may help bolster the likelihood for Google Glass’s success with a Glass-compatible artificial intelligence app (Writes Wired: “Think of an Amazon Alexa for the factory floor.”) Anat Karni, product lead at Plataine, said the technology can inform workers about production issues, alert users to matters that require immediate attention, and display information for resolving problems.
Gillian Hayes, a professor at University of California at Irvine, told Wired she sees a future for Google Glass on the factory floor — where the relative dorkiness of eyewear is a secondary concern.
“Spaces like manufacturing floors, where there’s no social norm saying it’s not OK to use this, are the spaces where I think it will do really well,” Hayes said.
Image from Google.