Whether or not smart glasses like Google Glass ever gain mainstream acceptance, there’s no question they’re useful in many jobs. Now Google is taking the conversation about Glass in the workplace to a new level.
Google has begun a Glass at Work initiative, asking businesses how they’re working with Glass, and the kinds of applications they’re developing. Google’s post on Google+ cites the Washington Capitals’ work with PX Labs, which created Glassware, that shows fans wearing Glass real-time stats, instant replays and different camera angles on the headset.
Most Glass at Work applications, however, will probably look more like what Schlumberger has done, which was also name-checked in the Google post. The oilfield services company partnered with Wearable Intelligence to create Glassware tailored for its employees, so they’ll have access to crucial information in the field on a hands-free device.
Using head-mounted displays for specific workplace scenarios is nothing new. The military has been using the tech for years, and scores of Glass Explorers have already shown novel workplace scenarios for Glass. North Carolina firefighter Patrick Jackson, for example, is working on an app that can provide firefighters in the field with potentially lifesaving information, including building floorplans and instructions for dismantling specific cars. And the NYPD is experimenting with cops wearing Glass.
Google’s announcement of Glass at Work implies the company is interested in tailoring Glass to certain workplace needs, and will probably deploy specific tools for businesses interested in making Glassware.
It also helps shift the conversation about Glass, at least temporarily. Google Glass has been scrutinized for its implications about privacy, and it has suffered some bad press in the past few months, including an incident where a man was ejected from a movie theater and interrogated for wearing the headset, and another where a woman was apparently assaulted for wearing the headset in a San Francisco bar.
By putting the spotlight on developers like Jackson, Google can show the potential benefits of the wearable technology it’s pushing forward. Those benefits were perhaps obvious and already in if it keeps people from talking about Glass and privacy for a few days, it’s a win.
In the end, however, Google wants Glass to have mainstream appeal. Glass for Work has its place, but if it becomes the focus, the headset won’t ever reach beyond a niche market for a few specialized occupations. In addition to a hands-free camera, Glass provides instant access to Google, communication and the web just by speaking, which has lots of advantages for the everyday user as well.
Google has already begun addressing the issues surrounding privacy and fashion by first forbidding any Glassware that uses facial recognition, then through a partnership with Luxottica, maker of Ray-Ban and Oakley sunglasses, to create more stylish frames for Glass.
Source : Mashable