Google Glass rises again — at work

Now Google Glass is productive, not creepy.

The product Google announced Tuesday is called Glass Enterprise Edition, has been tested in workplaces for the past couple of years and is ready for an expanded rollout.

It’s been five years since Google co-founder Sergey Brin introduced Google Glass to the world, delivered by sky-divers who were wearing the glasses so the audience could see what was happening from their perspective. Soon after, many of us became familiar with “Glasshole,” a term Google itself used to warn early adopters of its internet-connected specs about their behavior. Among other things, people were wary of Glass users because their glasses had cameras that could record others without their knowledge. There was some backlash, and Google closed the Explorer program down in 2015.

But Glass didn’t shutter and shatter forever. It was getting a makeover.

Today, Glass users aren’t creeps at the bar or at the movies — two places where Glass was banned — they are factory workers, warehouse workers, airplane mechanics and doctors.

“Workers in many fields, like manufacturing, logistics, field services, and healthcare find it useful to consult a wearable device for information and other resources while their hands are busy,” said Jay Kothari, lead project manager for Glass, in a Medium post Tuesday. “That’s why we’ve spent the last two years working closely with a network of more than 30 expert partners to build customized software and business solutions for Glass for people in these fields.”

The devices now have specific functions as opposed to being a novelty with no clear purpose, the result of Google’s decision to pay attention to the companies that early on took the Glass Explorer Edition and began to experiment with ways their employees could use them, according to Wired’s Steven Levy, who has the scoop on Glass 2.0. Levy reports that companies such as GE, Boeing, DHL, Volkswagen and more are planning to more widely adopt what started out as pilot projects with Enterprise Edition.

DHL estimates that it has increased supply-chain efficiency by 15 percent because its pickers can have their hands free while they fulfill orders, Kothari boasts in his post. Similarly, doctors at Sutter Health say they have reduced the time they spend with medical record-keeping, according to Kothari.

The Glass team is now back with Alphabet’s X, a.k.a. its “moonshot” factory, and will work with the Google Cloud team to beef up offerings for businesses, Kothari said.

Last but not least, something to address the creepiness factor: Enterprise Edition has a red light that goes on when it’s recording.

 

Photo: Dignity Health nurses and doctors use Google Glass. (Courtesy Google)

 

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  • Carl Pietrantonio

    But is it still only for people that have their right eye as their strong eye, or even for people who are only blind in their left eye? I’ve never heard of a Google Glass that works with the LEFT eye. Very discriminatory!

 
 
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