As Google Glass Explorers have been using the eyewear-mounted computers in their communities since the first early Glass devices were distributed in April 2013, it was only a matter of time before they also made their way into businesses, factories and other workplaces.
Now Google wants to encourage and grow that nascent trend with its new "Glass at Work" program, which is designed to help businesses learn more how Glass might be integrated in useful ways for their employees and business processes.
"In the last year, we've seen our Explorers use Glass in really inspiring and practical day-to-day ways," the company wrote in an April 7 post on the Glass Google+ page. "Something we've also noticed and are very excited about is how Explorers are using Glass to drive their businesses forward. A number of companies have already teamed up with enterprise software developers to create new ways to serve their customers and reach their business goals."
The idea is that Google has been seeing companies experimenting with Google Glass already and it wants to drive even more interest in the business world, according to a Google spokesman. "We wanted to create a program that made it easier for them to get started on implementing Glass in their businesses," the spokesman said.
Two businesses that are already experimenting with Glass are the Washington Capitals NHL hockey club and oil field services company Schlumberger, according to Google. The Capitals selected several hundred fans at a Jan. 14 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.
Schlumberger partnered with a company called Wearable Intelligence to use Glass to increase safety and efficiency for their employees in the field, according to Google.
Both Glass projects are only the start of what is possible for businesses and the enterprise, according to Google.
The new Glass at Work program is seeking developers to get involved with the effort to build more applications that can help businesses use Glass in their operations. Google has built a sign-up page where developers can register to join the effort.
Dan Maycock, an IT analyst with OneAccord Digital, told eWEEK that Google's move to build interest in Glass in the business world makes sense. "I think there's tons of potential for business and Glass, especially given the price point today," said Maycock. "It could also be appropriate for business to use Glass and help bring the price down a bit."
For enterprises, the use of Glass could be useful, particularly because the devices can provide real-time information and are able to pull up data, images and more on a heads-up display, he said. "Companies could use it basically as an information appliance."
The Glass at Work project "could increase the potential for Glass and help it get legs," said Maycock. "It makes sense."
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.