July 31, 2015

Could the New Google Glass Revolutionize the Workforce?

By Justin H.

Do you remember the rapture, and how December 21, 2012 was supposed to be the end of the world? Well, Google Glass was supposed to be the polar opposite of that. As soon as this video hit YouTube and amassed over 27 million views, it was set in stone that mankind was just a few short years away from morphing into fully-functioning pseudo-cyborgs who could do anything imaginable by simply talking to our glasses.

But then it never happened. So, here we are aimlessly drifting through life without being able to communicate with our glasses. What are we, cavemen?

According to The Wall Street Journal, Google is quietly distributing the next installment of Google Glass to workplaces. This is clearly the next step in Google’s quest to find its niche in the eyewear market, as they are marketing exclusively to businesses. Google is reportedly not planning to launch Glass 2.0 just yet, but intends to have businesses using the gadget by this coming fall.

The entire Glass 2.0 project, as we have covered before here at Tek Shouts!, was reset back when Google’s Nest CEO, Tony Fadell—also the man behind the iPod—took the reins. This “Enterprise Edition” of Glass is the most telling information we’ve had since.

From the WSJ, we also learned that the product won’t be as obvious and egregious as strapping a GoPro to your forehead, much like the original Google Glass was. The new Glass features a “button-and-hinge system to attach the mini-computer to different glasses.” You will be able to snap them on and off with ease, so people won’t constantly feel like they’re on an episode of Candid Camera while talking to you.

According to 9to5Google.com, “it folds like a regular pair of glasses, and because it’s first and foremost being built for the workplace, it has a more rugged build and appearance.” The battery life will also be stronger, and the glasses will feature a faster Intel processor.

You’ve got to love the bold stance Google is taking this time around with Glass 2.0, because there was no other way to go after the original prototype shattered. Aiming high for businesses and the workforce is an interesting audible, because we saw how badly Blackberry crashed and burned when they followed a similar path. Knowing they could no longer compete with iPhones and Androids, Blackberry decided to start charging thousands for their phones, with sights set on the well-to-do businessmen sporting brand new Jaguars and pocketing six-figure salaries.

That being said, it appears Google heard some of their customer complaints. The price was a big one, with Glass coming in at a whopping $1,500. We don’t know if the new version will be any cheaper, but at that price at least we know we will be getting our money’s worth this time because the glasses serve more of a purpose, particularly for businesses.

Being able to take them on and off whenever the user likes is a big plus as well. Nobody wants to be known as a glasshole.

The big turning point will be if the glasses actually turn out to be useful in the workforce. They won’t help blue collar workers such as a janitor or a fry cook, but the glasses have interesting potential in the hands of models, engineers and surgeons. There’s plenty of room for success in the operating room, since the glasses allow a surgeon to record, archive and educate any and all surgeries. And that’s just the beginning. This was being done with last year’s Glass prototype, so imagine what could be in store for the next installment.

It’s fantastic to finally have some concrete details on Glass 2.0, but its impact and success rate is still anyone’s guess. Google is truly pushing the envelope, and won’t end up like Blackberry so long as they continue to improve. If Glass winds up saving even one life through surgery, it will have been an overwhelming success.

Where do you see Google Glass fitting in in the workforce? Is Google taking the right approach this time around? Feel free to discuss in the comment section!

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