Google ending its Glass Explorer program ahead of new version under Tony Fadell’s leadership

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Update: Google has made an official blog post detailing the changes to the Glass project. More information below.

It looks like Google may finally be preparing Glass for primetime as a number of changes around the company’s heads-up display product were revealed today. Most notably, the Glass project will be moving from the experimental Google X group to its own unit under the leadership of Tony Fadell, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Next of note, Google will end the current run of its Glass Explorers program on January 19th, removing the current version of Glass from sale to individuals; however, the WSJ includes that businesses and developers interested in purchasing Glass can still do so through an application process. The Glass at Work program, which has continued to grow, will live on beyond the Explorer Program’s imminent demise. Read more

Google Glass might have a chance in healthcare: Augmedix raises another $16 million

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Healthcare seems to be one area in which Google Glass is just irresistibly great. Doctors, after all, aren’t unfamiliar with wearable tech to help them with their job; they already wear stethoscopes on a daily basis. Adding Glass to the mix brings new possibilities for more efficient patient care as well as a better work day for doctors, and Augmedix—one of the first Glass at Work partners—knows more about using Glass in medicine than any other company. Today, Augmedix announced that they’ve scored another $16 million in Series A funding.

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Google’s Sergey Brin spotted at CES trying out Glass competitor Epson Moverio

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Google might not have an official presence as an exhibitor at CES, but it does have its people on the ground checking out the new products from both its partners and competitors. That includes top Googler Sergey Brin who was spotted in the photo above via +Tim Moore on Google+.

Moore works with Rochester Optical, the company behind the lenses used in the Epson Moverio smart glasses Brin is trying in the photo. Rochester Optical also previously announced plans to build accessories for Google Glass as well, Google’s own smart glasses and competitor to the Epson Moverio BT-200 that launched last year for $699. Read more

Startups like kiddoEMR could change lives using Google tech, but this one desperately needs Google Glass 2.0

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Dr. Joseph “Joe” Cohen has been a pediatrician for 15 years, and he saw a need in the medical workplace. Current EMR (electronic medical record) solutions are ridiculously expensive, antiquated, offer little support for pediatrics, and require hours of rigorous training before doctors can use them to efficiently document and organize patient information. Seeing this, Dr. Joe (as his young patients call him) developed a pediatric solution of his own, and deployed an early version in his own practice, Cedar Park Pediatrics, with the added bonus of bringing down the average cost of processing patients from $58 to around $20 per visit.

And while the system is of course platform-agnostic for the most part, Google technologies like Chrome and Glass are a key players in the kiddoEMR product despite downfalls that Dr. Joe says make the current generation of the latter completely impractical for the workplace. The system of course will mostly be interacted with via an in-browser interface on a desktop computer, but Glass provides some robust functionality that would make it a no-brainer for pediatricians. Doctors like Joe, though, need to be able to use their hands, and the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words” is especially true when diagnosing patients.

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What we expect to see from Google in 2015

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It has been a pretty exciting year for Google in a lot of ways. Android Wear has started to ignite excitement behind the future of wearable technology, the best version of Android ever—dubbed Lollipop—was released, a couple of brand new Nexus devices (one of which we leaked) came to fruition, and the Mountain View corporation’s new Material Design language has taken the Play Store by storm. Everything that was already great was made better in 2014, and the company has been sprinkling a bunch of exciting innovations in along the way to keep things interesting—like the self-driving car, for example.

In 2015, Google is probably going to do much the same. Android “M” (milkshake, maybe?) will likely be unveiled at Google I/O this upcoming summer, we’ll probably see a round of new Nexus hardware come later in the year, Google will likely keep pushing Chromebooks in the affordable segment of the PC market, and Android Wear devices from countless manufacturers will continue to get thinner and have better and better battery life. But Google surely has some drastic innovation planned in a variety of areas, as well, with the potential return of Google Glass on the horizon and the second spiral of Project Ara to be unveiled in a couple of weeks.

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Google’s Astro Teller says in 10-20 years we’ll all “access our digital world through our glasses”

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Google Glass may seem to be essentially on the brink of death, but Google focusing on Android Wear for the time being doesn’t necessarily mean that the Mountain View company is done pursuing the area of smart glasses. In fact, Google’s Eric Schmidt recently said that it plans to bring Glass—described as if it’s going to see some kind of 2.0 rebirth—to the consumer market “soon,” but only “when it works.”

Google Glass has most definitely had a hard time capturing the imagination of the public (and the government), been met with countless criticisms thanks to its privacy implications, and generally created an image around itself that has made the device in its current form rather socially unacceptable to wear. But all this aside, Google X “moonshot” head Astro Teller says that it’s only a matter of time before glasses are the portal to our digital world.

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Creators of Glass app LynxFit join $10M-backed ‘Glass at Work’ partner APX Labs

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Google Glass may seem to be fading into obscurity, but—especially with recent rumors that it may soon be getting a reboot—I don’t think we should discredit the platform and assume it has been a failed experiment just yet. In fact, Google seems to be focusing on the workplace use cases of the device, as do many of its developers, and today we’ve learned that the people behind one of the most popular pieces of Glassware—LynxFit—are joining one of the “Glass at Work” certified partners: APX Labs.

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New patent shows off a sleeker and slimmer potential future for Google Glass

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Google Glass in its current form has been on the market for going on two years now, and besides a couple of minor hardware iterations, the hardware—and its huge beta-test $1,500 price tag—has stayed much the same. A couple of different patents have surfaced in the past showing what direction the physical design of the device may be headed, but the latest one (via Quartz) seems the most plausible—and does the best job of not straying too far from the current “Explorer Edition.”

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New model of Google Glass coming in 2015, Intel chip promising increased battery-life

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The WSJ reports that Google will be launching a new model of Glass next year, with a new low-energy Intel chip designed to increase battery-life. The processor in the current model model is a Texas Instruments one, the headset battery lasting around one day of typical use.

Intel currently makes its own wearable device, the fashion-oriented MICA bracelet aimed at women, its low-energy chip offering a claimed two days of battery-life …
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Google reportedly planning to shutter its Glass Basecamps

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According to recent reports, Google’s Glass Basecamps are officially kicking the bucket. It started with a post on Google+ by Glass Explorer Spencer Kleyweg, who noticed that Google is no longer accepting scheduled appointments to said Glass support hubs. This apparently affects all four of the basecamps, at locations including Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and London.

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Google Glass consumer launch pushed to 2015, developers beginning to lose interest

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Since its initial unveiling more than two years ago, one of the biggest questions surrounding Google Glass has been its commercial viability. Reuters today has published a report, yet again questioning the long-term success opportunities of Glass. Sergey Brin, the head of Google’s X Lab which is responsible for Glass, was seen this weekend in public not wearing a pair. The Google executive remarked that he had left his pair in the car when asked by a reporter.

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Texas hospital using Google Glass to expedite treatment of stroke victims

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Stroke experts from Memorial Hermann in Houston are using Google Glass at sites of emergencies to test if the wearable can be used to help save time, money and lives. Dr. James Grotta, director of Stroke Research at Memorial Hermann’s Texas Medical Center hospital started using Glass to share critical medical information with the hospital’s staff while responding to 911 calls related to potential stroke victims.

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