Don’t believe the unbelievers (Part 2); Google Glass has succeeded through Glass at Work

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Dr. Tad Vail of UCSF at the kickoff of CrowdOptic’s medical solution

This is part two of my series on the state of Google Glass. Be sure to read the first part of this series where I explain the truth on Google’s official stance on where the device is headed.

Google Glass has an uncertain future, but there are many things we can learn from the past two years. While the general public is holding it to the standard of being a consumer product (and has watched it flop), the Explorer Edition Glass saw amazing accomplishments and successes elsewhere: in the workplace. Many startups—dubbed by Google as the “Glass at Work” partners—have seen the device become a major contributor to their business, and one company in particular, CrowdOptic, has seen extraordinary success working with seven Fortune 500 companies that represent more than $1 trillion in market capitalization.

Although the Glass team definitely missed some hurdles as mentioned in Thursday’s Q4 earnings call, the experimental device definitely has legs (and it’s not just because Google says so)…

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Google CFO: Google Glass team missed hurdles, needed a fresh strategy

A visitor is testing the new Google Glasses at the international fair for digital economy 'NEXT Berlin 2013' in Berlin, Germany, 24 April 2013.  NEXT Berlin 2013 is an international trade for which serves as a platform of digital innovations from the worl

The Google Q4 2014 earnings call is happening right now, and Google CFO Patrick Pichette took a second to speak about projects that miss their goals and how Google asks them to “take a pause” to reset their strategy. Google Glass, and the recent decision to graduate the project out of Google [x] was used as an example of one of these situations…

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Don’t believe the unbelievers; Google Glass is alive and well

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After seeing the countless doomsday articles over the last couple of weeks, I can’t help but wonder whether or not Google regrets the way they announced the retirement of the Glass Explorer Program and graduation of Glass out of Google[x]. The headline of the announcement, reading “We’re graduating from Google[x] labs” was nothing like the headlines of those that reported the news. Instead of reporting that the device was “graduating” out of Google’s experimental product lab and into its own division (under Tony Fadell’s leadership no less), headlines reported of Glass being a “failed innovation,” as being “killed off,” and blatantly called the project “dead”.

Google didn’t say any of these things. Sure, there is absolutely room to criticize various aspects of the Explorer Program, but Google is moving on from that. That’s what this announcement was about. Google has decided to put all of its resources and focus into the next generation of the Glass project, and meanwhile the world is claiming its demise before what’s next has even been seen. I understand that many objections against Glass are moreso objections against head-worn computing in general, but arguments claiming the overall death of the augmented reality experiment I believe are also premature. And not only is augmented and holographic head-worn computing not dead, but evidence points to it being on the brink of a very real evolution.

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Hyundai cancelled its Google Glass Blue Link app in favor of Android Wear

HYUNDAI EXPLORES WEARABLE TECHNOLOGY WITH ALL-NEW GENESIS

A little more than a year ago, Hyundai told the world that it was working on a Google Glass counterpart for its Blue Link platform. The app was supposed to launch with the 2015 Hyundai Genesis, but the car’s first availability came and went without any mention of Google’s head-worn computer. And while Hyundai did recently announce that it plans to release an app compatible with Android Wear devices very soon, it’s now official that the company’s Google Glass app won’t likely be getting the same treatment.

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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

UK retailer Tesco launches its shopping app for Google Glass

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Google Glass has been on the downtrend as of late, but there are still many groups who believe in the product enough to keep developing for it. One of those groups is UK grocer and general retailer Tesco, which has today released its Google Glass shopping app—six months after the company first released a video demoing what the app would be like. While the company has had a prototype working for a while now, Tesco now says that its shopping app is ready for prime time.

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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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Google Glass taking a trip to the International Space Station next week for flatworm study

Google Glass has been picking up news a lot more lately, with Google’s Eric Schmidt saying recently that the Mountain View corporation is taking its time bringing the device to a consumer release, and suggesting that when that happens Glass will be some sort of reimagined 2.0 revision. But the fact that Google’s in no rush to release the device’s next version isn’t stopping other companies from continuing to experiment with the technology, namely Kentucky Space, which plans to bring the wearable computer to the International Space Station (via Glass Almanac) as part of a mission launching (literally) next week.

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