Google Glass is back, and you might not even hate it this time around

Have the summer tech news doldrums hit early this year? How else to explain the excitement surrounding the reboot of Google Glass.

You remember Google Glass, the laughingstock of 2013? Well, according to many headlines, Google Glass redux already is a success:

  • Google Glass Gets It Right the Second Time
  • Google Glass 2.0 Is a Startling Second Act
  • Google Glass is officially back with a clearer vision
  • Google Glass is the comeback we didn’t expect in 2017
  • Google Glass inks 5-pic deal with Sony

OK, you might not be able to find that last story, but only because I broke the news embargo. The point is that a good portion of the tech media is buying heavily into the Google Glass comeback story. And why not? “Plucky underdog returns from the scrapheap of history to find redemption and teach us all about love” is a stirring tale. Still, I’d say this headline is a lot closer to the mark:

  • Google Glass gets a second chance in factories, where it’s likely to remain

That wouldn’t even be a good storyline for a reality show on Netflix! It’s likely that The Verge’s Vlad Savov’s take on Google Glass Enterprise Edition (EE) is a lot closer to the mark than “startling second act” and “comeback we didn’t expect.”

“The second iteration of Google Glass has been tested and deployed across many factories in the United States by companies such as Boeing, GE, and DHL,” Savov writes. However, he adds, “The scale of the Glass EE rollout is still small, with [a] Wired report indicating sales have been in the hundreds and most of the biggest customers taking on Glass only on a trial basis.”

This is the comeback we didn’t expect?

To be fair, Savov also notes that “feedback from workers and companies has been overwhelmingly positive,” which is a lot different from the reaction in 2013, when Glass couldn’t get any traction because, well, it sort of creeped people out. Now, though, it appears Glass may at least be finding a niche in some industries such as manufacturing and healthcare.

Hey, if Google Glass can help manufacturers be more efficient and healthcare providers better serve patients, that’s surely a good thing. And now that Google is expanding availability of Glass EE, it should find even more uses. But this time Google is wisely tempering expectations.

“We’re not going to prejudge exactly what (Glass’s) path is […] we’ll focus on the places that are actually getting value out of it and go through the journey with them, being open-minded about where it’s going to go,” Astro Teller, chief of Google’s experimental Alphabet X division, said this week.

As Inc. contributor Scott Mautz accurately observes, Teller’s comment indicates that the company learned a lot from its bungled Glass rollout in 2013. So while we shouldn’t expect Glass EE to take the enterprise by storm, it may now be on a path to gradually become a valuable digital tool in a number of industries.

Just take the breathless hype with a grain of salt; it’s merely summer madness.

RELATED LINKS

Google Lens shows the practical, everyday value of augmented reality

Worried about Google tracking? Tips to protect your privacy

AI and chatbots will revolutionize how we work

 

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