Google Glass returns as a tool for businesses


— 3:00 PM on July 18, 2017

The last we heard of Google Glass, the heads-up display spectacles had turned into something of a national punchline. Google stopped selling the devices to individual customers in 2015, and the public found other face-mounted displays to get hyped about. As it turns out, though, the Glass program didn't disappear. Instead, the Glass team has spent the last two years working with industry partners to develop a business-friendly variant of the spectacles called Glass Enterprise Edition.

For an idea of Glass' new lease on life, Google points to Agco, a manufacturer and distributor of agricultural equipment. The company's workers have been using Google Glass on the factory floor to help guide them through complicated assembly instructions. General Electric's aviation mechanics have also been using Glass instead of printed assembly manuals, and the company reports that the technology has helped them reduce errors and increase the efficiency of their mechanics. Other companies who've gotten on board with the revitalized Glass include DHL, Samsung, Boeing, and Volkswagen.

The new hardware looks like it operates similarly to previous versions of the device. The transparent display is still mounted to a pair of spectacles, although the new models look a lot more like safety goggles than designer glasses. Users can still issue verbal commands to interact with the device, access videos and other digital media, and initiate live video streams using a built-in camera.

Now that the Glass-for-business program has wrapped up its incubation period, the technology is back on the market again. Companies interested in the Glass Enterprise Edition headsets won't be buying them through Google, though. Instead, there's a list of Glass Partners, each with a industry specialty, that offer the devices, relevant software, and support to interested parties. Pricing will depend on the customization, training, and support needed.

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