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What’s next for the future of Google Glass?

26th Aug 2016
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It’s been over a year since Google decided to end sales of its Google Glass eyewear and close its Glass Explorer programme, which gave software developers the chance to buy the product. Despite stopping the production of the Glass because of a number of issues, the company insisted it is not the end for the smart glasses and it will be focusing on future versions.

Over the past year it has been rumoured that a new version of Glass is in development, specifically targeted at businesses, but no timescale has yet been confirmed.

Despite this, businesses from a whole host of sectors, ranging from manufacturing to healthcare, are getting excited about the possibilities and benefits this new edition of wearable device will bring.

Google Glass: where it all began

The Google Glass prototype was first released in 2012 to developers and the initial plan was to keep the launch rather low-key so a small, select group of Glass Explorers could trial it and help resolve any bugbears before it was launched to consumers. 

However, the Glass project received the enthusiastic backing of Google's co-founder Sergey Brin who rather spectacularly introduced the wearable at Google’s annual conference. The launch involved skydivers jumping out of an airplane wearing Glass and projecting what they were seeing to delegates.

And that’s when the Glass hype started - developers, technologists and consumers alike could not wait to get their hands on this innovative piece of tech that could take pictures, videos and retrieve information on its screen. Technology futurist Robert Scoble even proclaimed that he could not imagine living a day without the product.

But where did it all go wrong?

Despite the initial excitement, grumblings and complaints started to surface. As well as issues over its hefty price tag and poor battery life, people were concerned about their personal privacy, as glass wearers could potentially film or photograph them without them knowing. This led to a number of bars, restaurants and casinos even going so far to ban the use of the smart glasses on their premises.

Glass went from being a sought-after product to being heavily criticised. In fact, Apadmi conducted a study into wearable tech, which found that 35 per cent would feel embarrassed or self-conscious wearing wearable glass and 17 per cent thought it made people look unattractive.

So less than seven months after its UK release, the tech giant confirmed that it would halt orders for the experimental wearable device, claiming it was always an experiment and that it would focus on a new version, taking on board all the insight gained from the first version.

Glass 2.0

After a series of photos were leaked at the start of this year, it looks like Google Glass 2.0 is on its way. However, instead of being aimed at consumers, the tech will be targeted specifically at businesses.

Currently details are limited but the device, rumoured to be called the Enterprise Edition, is expected to be more durable and feature a foldable design, making it easier to carry around. It’s also anticipated to have a faster processor and a larger, longer-lasting battery, as this was one of the main problems of the Explorer Edition.

Function is also expected to take precedent over fashion if it’s for workplace use, with the display likely to be larger so users have a clearer view.

What businesses are set to benefit?

Although there was criticism around Glass’ usefulness in public settings, particularly with regards to privacy, Google Glass was actually a hit with businesses. Numerous companies from various industries saw the benefits of Google Glass including Virgin Atlantic, which tested Google Glass over a six-week period with customer service agents, resulting in many positive passenger reviews.

By offering instant, up to date information on a hands-free screen, Google Glass 2.0 is set to assist many workers, including those in the healthcare, manufacturing and construction industries where workers often need to use their hands to complete tasks.

In fact, it is believed it could completely revolutionise how many industries operate by improving communication, collaboration and customer service. The wearable could also be used to improve efficiency and better manage operations, as well as aid in the training and development of staff.

Teachers could access information to teach children, presenters or spokespeople could use the device to deliver speeches, and healthcare professionals could use Glass to increase efficiency with patient treatment – the possibilities seem to be endless.

But for now, businesses will be playing the waiting game to see what Google can come up with for device number two. Can it iron out the glitches of the Explorer Edition and make a version that will flourish with business users? Or will the Enterprise Edition also fall short of success?

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