Remember Google Glass, the computer-enabled eyewear that gave rise to terms like “glassholes” and inspired anti-surveillance startups like Cyborg Unplug? Well, after a hiatus of more than two years, Google’s wearable is back in the public eye as an updated technology designed exclusively for use in the workplace.
This time around, the computer-enabled eyewear that creeped out many people in social situations has received a much more positive reception from professionals in factories, hospitals, shipping, and other industries, according to the company. So early today, Google announced that it’s making a new Glass Enterprise Edition (pictured above) available to businesses through a variety of partner companies.
Those partner companies will provide Glass-based hardware, along with their own specially developed software for specific workplace needs, to business customers whose employees could benefit from hands-free computing.
Among the tasks the new enterprise version could be used for: allowing technicians to consult maintenance manuals without having to step away from their work; helping doctors focus on conversations with patients rather than having to take notes that must be manually typed later; and enabling logistics workers to know exactly where to find items for packing and shipping.
Enabling Faster, Easier Work
Since moving Glass development outside of its Google X experimental labs and halting consumer sales of the device to early-adopting “Explorers” in early 2015, Google has worked with numerous companies that have used the technology to make workplace tasks faster and easier.
GE, for example, one of the first enterprise users of Glass, has been working with Google partner Upskill to deploy the wearable in multiple workplace environments. According to GE, technicians at its Pensacola, Florida, facility have seen a 34-percent increase in productivity since using Glass with Upskill’s Skylight platform to assemble wind turbines.
“Now, there are more than 50 businesses, including AGCO, DHL,…