Google Glass on Track for Developer Debut
Sometime in the coming weeks or months, Google Glass, the company's virtual-reality eyeglasses, could be headed for a developer near you. For the IT community at midsize firms the implications are uncertain - but they could be sweeping.
The significance of Glass is that it is not just another smartphone or tablet device, or even a major step forward in an already established technology. It is an entirely new technology application, as different from today's generation of mobile devices as an iPad is from a desktop PC.
All of which means that it may have uses and impacts we can now only dimly foresee. It may be a flop - or it may prove more transformative than the entire mobility revolution to date.
Not a lot has been heard about Google Glass since the spectacles were unveiled for a preview glimpse in mid-2012. As Dara Kerr reports at CNET, relative quiet does not mean the wearable computing technology has been forgotten. Certainly not at Google, where Glass project head Babak Parviz outlined the company's efforts in an interview with IEEE Spectrum magazine.
Says Parviz, Glass "is not a laptop or a smartphone. It's an entirely new platform. So how people interact with it and what people do with it is totally new territory." The Glass team is working on incorporating a phone call feature, and seeking to extend battery life to a full day.
What apps, if any, will be incorporated in Glass remains to be seen. Parviz also notes that there are no plans to display advertising on the device.
Making Mobility Visible
The most obvious implications of Glass are for displaying mobile information, from maps to deals available in stores as the wearer passes them. This potential could make the technology of particular interest to midsize firms for which geolocation is an important concern.
On the other hand, the most obvious uncertainty for Glass is whether the concept of virtual-reality eyeglasses will catch on with consumers. Will they simply be too geeky? Or will Google show that it can match Apple's ability to make a new technology fashionable?
Even if Glass never reaches a large consumer market, the technology could find major workplace applications. These could range from helping technicians in the field locate and trace equipment components to helping retail workers find mis-shelved merchandise.
The workplace applications alone suggest that IT professionals at midsize firms might be looking at the world through virtual-colored glasses in the near future.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.