Google is a company known for developing some pretty interesting products, none more so than Google Glass. This wearable computer, first introduced in 2012 and currently being tested by so-named Explorers, has garnered some intense interest from many quarters. While it is still in the testing phase there have been some new updates that point to the fact that the device may soon be available to the public.
A new Google GlassIn late January, Google put a post on their Google+ page with information about new versions of Google Glass. From the outset many Explorers and people in general were wondering how the device would work with prescription glasses. Others were worried that the device simply looked a little too strange for most people to want to use. Others still noted that the device wasn't great for outdoor activities, largely because it didn't fit over sunglasses well.
It appears that Google has been listening and has announced a number of new styles for Glass. The first is the Titanium collection, a set of four (for now) frames that make the device look more stylish. The device now sits above a pair of actual glasses. What's more, these glasses can come with a prescription, which means users won't have to wear a pair of glasses underneath just to be able to see.
For those who don't need glasses but are still looking for style, Google introduced the newest frame for the device. It looks similar to the original offering, kind of like a bulky pair of glasses without the lenses, but now you can snap on different lenses, including tinted ones for outdoor use. There are currently three styles of tinted lenses you can attach, the best looking are perhaps the Classic, with the main glass arm sitting above the right-side of the frame.
There is little doubt that the addition of lenses makes the Glass not only more stylish but also a device that we could envisage people wearing without standing out too much. That being said, wearers will stand out anyway, largely because the device is so different from anything else.
When will Google Glass be available to the public?With the recent announcement of newer and trendier Google Glass options, it appears that the device is finally nearing a public release. Visit the Google Glass site however and information is still a bit sparse. You can still sign up to be an Explorer and can also view the new options but there isn't a whole lot of other information.
That being said, on the main Google Glass Explorer site - which is kind of like a messaging board for all involved in the Explorer program - a recent article popped up with tips on how an Explorer should use their device.
What this points to is an impending public release, which is likely to happen later in 2014, or possibly early 2015.
What does this mean for businesses?Well, to be honest, probably not a lot at first because this device is such a radical shift from the norm public acceptance will likely be low. You will likely come across the device shortly after its release if your business focuses on customer-facing services such as a restaurant or retail outlet. With this in mind you should probably try and develop a plan or rule on whether these devices are allowed on your premises. While outright banning likely won't help your business, it might be a good idea to define when and how Glass can be used in your business. It might be advisable to follow the same rules you do with smartphones.
If your employees want to use them, or you want to integrate them into your business, you might want to set rules as to how and when they can be used. For example, if you are using Glass around customers, ask them whether they are happy with the device being used and how, such as taking their picture with them.
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