Google Glass Gets a Second Chance

Google Glass, the smart head-up display and camera that was supposed to become everyone’s next portable computer, isn’t dead. The second iteration of Google Glass has been tested and deployed across many factories in the United States by companies such as Boeing, GE, and DHLDubbed Google Glass Enterprise Edition (EE), this is the same headset that we first saw in an FCC filing in 2015 and last summer being offered up on eBay.

The major upgrades between the original Google Glass and the enterprise version are a better camera (with resolution upgraded from 5 megapixels to 8), extended battery life, faster Wi-Fi and processor, and a new red light that turns on when recording video. The electronics of Glass have also been made modular in the shape of a so-called Glass Pod, which can be detached and reattached to Glass-compatible frames, which can include things like safety goggles and prescription glasses.

The scale of the Glass EE rollout is still small, with the report indicating sales have been in the hundreds and most of the biggest customers taking on Google Glass only on a trial basis. Project lead Jay Kothari is quoted as saying, “This isn’t an experiment. It was an experiment three years ago. Now we are in full-on production with our customers and with our partners.” Indeed, according to the latest report, the feedback from workers and companies has been overwhelmingly positive, with Glass providing assistive information on the work floor and improving productivity.

But the approach and direction with this version of Google Glass are much more circumspect. Alphabet today lifts the non-disclosure requirement on its Glass EE partners and is opening up the program for more businesses to participate. The failure of Google’s glasses as a mass market product, it seems, might spawn the success of Alphabet’s workplace-focused assistive device.