Google Glass Returns As Office Wearable

Google Glass: is anyone still talking about it? Does anyone even remember Google Glass? The device was all the rage in 2012, when Google made a small number of Google Glass headsets available exclusively to developers, for the not-insignificant price of $1500 per pair, as originally reported by the Inquisitr. The Google wearable heads-up display created a huge media splash, pairs were listed on eBay for upwards of $10,000 USD… and then Google Glass faded quietly into the night, as interest rapidly waned.

Now, according to a report from Tech Times, Google Glass has returned – and this time around, Google is offering it not to developers, but to businesses. The new Google Glass, officially Google Glass Enterprise Edition, has received several upgrades from the original and is being advertised as an office device through Google’s new “Glass At Work” program.

The new Google Glass release date is set sometime this fall, and is designed to be able to clip over an existing pair of glasses, and some thought has been given to the new marketing campaign; the original Google Glass fell flat partly because it “looked nerdy” and due to concerns over privacy. Google feels, and probably rightly so, that these issues are given less weight in the office… and there are certainly a few of us who would be more likely to overlook these issues if it gave us an excuse to browse our Facebook feed at work without recrimination. Many professions already require headsets, from drive-throughs to phone-based tech support, and the benefits of a heads-up display do seem fairly obvious.

Google will be working together with developers to put together a suite of business-specific apps for Google Glass Enterprise, and have assigned Tony Fadell, co-founder of Nest and former executive at Apple, to head the project. Fadell is known for his work on the iPhone and iPod, and Google likely hopes to tap into some of that Apple marketing magic.

Although the release window is known for Google Glass, price is still out; likely, the wearable will fall somewhere between the original $1,500 and later $500 price points. It’s worth noting, however, that (as The Guardian points out) the original Google Glass saw high adoption among surgeons who benefit greatly from a voice-controlled, hands-free, heads-up device, and both price and app suite may reflect its use by high-profile, well-paid professions.

The Google Glass relaunch comes just six months after Google finally axed production of the original device, described by them as a “graduation,” and by critics as a “mercy killing.”

Time will tell whether businesses are ready to adopt Google Glass, but it seems a solid move on Google’s part.

[Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images]