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article imageGoogle Glass Enterprise unveiled – Wearable makes surprise return

By James Walker     Jul 18, 2017 in Technology
Google has unveiled Google Glass Enterprise Edition. The company is hoping to usher in a new era for the wearable computer after bugs and privacy concerns saw the original consumer version dismissed as before its time. Google's now targeting businesses.
In the three years since Google Glass faded out from the world, there's been a trickle of news about an alleged "enterprise edition" of the headset. Refocused and built expressly for professional users, the device would aim to improve workplace productivity.
Today, Google Glass product leader Jay Kothari officially introduced Google Glass Enterprise Edition. Confirming the long-rumoured headset's existence, Kothari said over 50 businesses are already using Glass.
Out of the public eye, Google has been working with firms including AGCO, Boeing, DHL, GE Aviation and Volkswagen for over two years. In that time, it has developed a refined version of Glass that's meant to assist you in your job.
Google Glass Enterprise Edition at DHL
Google Glass Enterprise Edition at DHL
The companies Google has already sold Glass to demonstrate the main industries that it is targeting. Glass isn't currently designed for day-to-day office use. Instead, it's a device you could rely on the floor of a warehouse or factory. It puts information such as assembly manuals and procedure documentation in front of you, even if your hands are busy.
"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 Kothari. "That's why we've spent the last two years working closely with a network of more than 30 expert partners to build customised software and business solutions for Glass for people in these fields."
Glass Enterprise Edition comes with upgraded hardware that's lighter and more comfortable to wear. There's also a modern processor for improved performance and a larger battery that offers an all-day runtime.
The firms that have embraced Glass during its development seem enthusiastic. Google claimed that GE Aviation mechanics have achieved productivity gains of between 8-12%. At agricultural equipment manufacturer AGCO, Glass's introduction has been credited with a 25 percent production time decrease and 30 percent reduction in pre-delivery inspection time.
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The new Glass shows promise in a way the original consumer version never did. While innovative and initially well-received, the headset turned out to be misaligned with the realities of how people engage with technology. Google was forced to meekly back away after early adopters found the device underwhelming and critics warned of privacy risks.
By confining Glass to factories, Google's found the hardware an application where it's more likely to be accepted. The company hopes the claimed productivity improvements will get large enterprises worldwide queueing up to buy Enterprise Edition units. They're available from today from Google's "X" experimental division.
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