Google announces a new $999 Glass augmented reality headset

Google has announced a new version of its business-focused Glass augmented reality headset, which it’s now designating an official Google product instead of an experiment. The Glass Enterprise Edition 2 costs $999, although, like its predecessor, it’s not being sold directly to consumers. It’s got a new processor, an improved camera, a USB-C port for faster charging, and a variety of other updates.

Google still isn’t positioning Glass as a mainstream product. But it seems to be expecting greater sales of the Glass Enterprise Edition 2. The device has been moved out of Google parent company Alphabet’s X “moonshot factory” and into the Google family of products, letting Google “meet the demands of the growing market for wearables in the workplace,” according to a blog post.

The basic Glass design hasn’t changed much. It’s still a relatively simple heads-up display, not a Microsoft HoloLens-style mixed reality headset. But it’s gotten a processing boost with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon XR1 chip, which is designed for augmented and virtual reality. Google says that with the XR1’s power, the new Glass headset can incorporate “computer vision and advanced machine learning capabilities.” Google has already released a consumer-focused computer vision tool called Lens, which offers features like sign translation and restaurant recommendations.

Google is also adding new safety frames to Glass in partnership with Smith Optics, plus a bigger battery and other upgraded components. Glass also now runs on Android, with support for Android Enterprise Mobile Device Management. The Glass Enterprise Edition 2’s existence leaked months ago, complete with news that it would likely be moving to Android. But we haven’t gotten a full picture of Google’s plans for it until now.

Glass was originally billed as a mass-market augmented reality headset, but after complaints about privacy and functionality, Google reinvented it as a tool for surgeons, factory workers, and other professionals. Google boasts that businesses have reported “faster production times, improved quality, and reduced costs” by using Glass for hands-free computing or troubleshooting. The original “Explorer Edition” cost $1,500, so while the Enterprise Edition 2’s $999 cost isn’t cheap, it’s still significantly more accessible.

Several other companies are also working on business-focused augmented reality glasses, including Microsoft, Vuzix, and Epson. Meanwhile, consumer-focused AR hasn’t gotten very far, despite the existence of smart glasses like the North Focals. Moving Glass out of the X program seems like a vote of confidence from Google — but for now, there’s no sign that it’s coming to a broader audience.

Correction: Clarified that X is a division of Google’s parent company Alphabet.

Comments

As a consumer I just want to be able to watch movies/videos out of the corner of my eye. Sounds like it would be cool. (Although I can see how it can negatively affect society in general. We already have enough attention problems.)

I feel eventually Google will be able to sell these for $500 a pop and make them look mostly like regular glasses. When they can reach this point it will come back as a consumer product.

I agree, fortunately businesses don’t care about how bulky these are as long as they get a good ROI. We’re probably still years away from this being sleek enough for the mainstream.

I think there is a huge untapped market for stealth body cams, especially for women wanting to file sexual assault claims, but yeah, they need to make them look a lot less obvious!

Untapped? A search for "covert body camera" will reveal this is a reasonably well-served market. I’m fairly certain that the camera on these is obvious by design.

I personally wish it was less asymmetrical, because I think humans are hardwired to treat asymmetrical faces as shocking, but I loved getting driving directions through Glass, so I’m tempted, or at least talking myself into being tempted.

Agreed on the symmetry. In addition to looking better, it would allow both eyes at the same time or choosing the opposite single eye if that floats your boat. I teel like both eyes would be more natural for directions…symbol in right eye means turn right, symbol in left eye means turn left, red in both eyes means stop, etc.

I could see glasses manufacturers partnering with Google and incorporating these into prescription lenses too.

As a person that wears glasses, its really appealing to me.

Make Google Glass a general platform that Google mostly controls, similar to WearOS, ChromeOS, and the Google Assistant.

There was an announcement from Luxottica for this awhile back, but i think it got shelved at some point.

Interesting, I’m pretty sure it will be unearthed once again when the technology gets far enough.

To me it’s funny because I am one of these people that need to wear glasses. And I’m waiting for the day I get Lasik to get rid of them ¯\(ツ)

i… feel like i have a Deja Vu.

what year is this?

I kind of want these

I wanna see what quality of pictures it can take… hopefully Pixel 2/3 level, or better? @verge Full review please!

As someone who bought an XE, trust me, you probably want the idea more than the actual thing.

That’s why I’m glad they’re a thousand bucks. If they were say, 300, I’d probably waste my money

I know some people see the pomp and circumstance of Apple’s product/service announcements a bit nauseating but what’s great about their fanfare is they typically offer context and use-cases.

It wouldn’t hurt Google to offer some type of presentation as well as a developer that can show the benefits as well as a little dog-and-pony about why this product sequel is necessary and why businesses should invest.

Like the sky-diving they did with the original Google Glass?

They had partnerships and case studies. If you have good numbers and are doing business to business, you don’t need to get a fancy video I guess

dont be a glasshole

again? how many times do we have to teach you old man?

Having owned Glass before as a consumer and early adopter in late 2012 I can say that it was honestly pretty cool, but a bit glitchy. I loved not having to pull my phone out to look for notifications. People who are worried about having images of them taken just need to look around, even today’s security systems in businesses and public are cloud connected and even record audio, and a person can have their phone’s camera on and just sticking out of the top of their pocket if they really want to be creepy. For a hotel that I owned up until this year, we used body cams for housekeeping and maintenance to cover ourselves from very common complaints that items were missing from rooms or that rooms weren’t cleaned properly – there’s a pretty good percentage of the public who is always out to get something for free, and having the ability to scan through video very quickly saved us hundreds of claims from guests when a hair or stain or "insert-your-imagination here" was supposedly left inside a guest room… but when a housekeeping inspector went through the room, the items weren’t there, but suddenly showed up between inspection and when the guest made their call to the front desk or management. Also having audio is a great way to prove how abusive, hostile, and threatening customers can be to my former staff members… people can be monsters, it’s just shocking. They’ll do anything to get their way or get something for free. But I’m a bit off topic… back to Glass… it was nice and useful, and probably much more useful than any Apple or Android watch is today.

If it’s notifications, audio recording you looking for, you should try Focals by North. Most of the time no one has any idea you’re wearing smart glasses, they actually look stylish.

Wow these look really good; surprised I haven’t heard more about them!

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