Google 'Glass at Work' Project Announces First Innovation Partners

Google's Glass at Work project, announced in April, now gets development partners that will aim to show businesses how Glass might be integrated in useful ways for workers and business processes.

Google Glass

Google's 2-month-old Glass at Work project now has its first five development partners, who are working on building work-related Glass applications that could interest businesses to bring Glass into their operations.

The first five Glass at Work development partners—APX, Augmedix, CrowdOptic, GuidiGo and Wearable Intelligence—were announced June 16 in a post on the Google Glass Google+ page. "We've been searching for developers who are creating Glassware to help businesses reach their goals," the post states. "We heard from hundreds of enterprise developers and today we're excited to announce our first round of Glass at Work Certified Partners."

Google launched its Glass at Work program in April and has been working behind the scenes to widen the initiative, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The new certified partners program means that these five vendors are authorized by Glass at Work to create enterprise apps for Glass, while also being able to co-brand their products and list them on the Glass at Work Website, according to Google.

APX Labs is the maker of the Skylight app for Glass, which provides workers with hands-free, real-time access to enterprise data and the expertise they need to do their job, according to the post. Augmedix offers a service for doctors that allows them to spend less time interacting with electronic health records so they can spend more time with patients. CrowdOptic's app recognizes worthwhile broadcast events from mobile and wearable devices and provides that content for reuse by businesses and applications, while GuidiGo is working to "inspire people to connect with art and culture through a compelling mobile storytelling experience," according to Google. Wearable Intelligence creates Glassware for energy, manufacturing, health care, and other industries and businesses.

The Glass at Work program began one year after the first Google Glass Explorers began using the eyewear-mounted computers in their communities back in April 2013. It was only a matter of time before they also made their way into businesses, factories and other workplaces.

Two businesses that have already been experimenting with Glass are the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club and oil field services company Schlumberger. The Capitals selected several hundred fans at a January 2014 hockey game against the San Jose Sharks to try out a Glass app called Skybox that was built by APX Labs. Using Skybox, the fans were able to see real-time instant replays on the devices, view different camera angles, pull up player stats and information with simple commands, share game highlights on social media, and receive other customized and specialized information through a high-performance content management system serving the Verizon Center, according to an eWEEK report.

Meanwhile, Schlumberger partnered with Wearable Intelligence to use Glass to increase safety and efficiency for their employees in the field, according to Google.

Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of it first surfaced in 2012. The first Google Glass units began shipping in April 2013 to developers who signed up at the June 2012 Google I/O developers conference to buy an early set for $1,500 for testing and development; the new technology was the hit of the conference. Google also then began shipping Glass units to lucky users who were given the privilege to buy their own early versions of Glass.

Each Google Glass device includes adjustable nose pads and a high-resolution display that Google said is the equivalent of a 25-inch high-definition screen from 8 feet away. The glasses also feature a built-in camera that takes 5-megapixel photos and video at 720p. Audio is delivered to wearers through their bones, using bone-conduction transducers.

In May 2014, Google began selling the beta version of its Glass devices to anyone who wants one in the United States as long as Google has them in stock. The Glass devices, which sell for $1,500 plus taxes, can be configured and ordered at the Glass Website, according to Google. Several options and add-ons can raise the price of the devices.

For excited users, the reality of the Glass beta program is that it is still a product that is under development and it is certainly not finished.

Controversies still continue about the product as well. There have already been bars and restaurants that have banned Glass wearing in their establishments, as well as reports about several people being physically attacked while wearing Glass, though those reports have sometimes been sketchy.