As a consumer product, Google Glass in its current incarnation may be doomed. It looks silly, costs too much, and doesn’t do much to improve a person’s life. However, Glass has seemingly limitless potential to make a person’s working life more productive, a fact that Google is looking to emphasize through its new Glass at Work program.
Today, Google announced its first five Glass at Work partners, all of which are companies that have created apps – or Glassware, as Google calls it – “to help businesses reach their goals.” Among those five partners, two – APX Labs and Augmedix – stand out as having immediately interesting and practical applications.
APX Labs’ claim to fame is a piece of Glassware called Skylight, which “provides workers with hands-free, real-time access to enterprise data and the expertise they need to do their job.” Likewise, Augmedix gives doctors wearing Glass quick and easy access to patients’ medical files and records, giving them the opportunity to step away from the computer and actually work with people who need their help.
A report on TechCrunch indicates that Augmedix’s program seems to be working, helping to prove Glass’s potential. At the Ventura Medical Clinic run by Dignity Health, doctors have been testing Augmedix on Glass for the last six months. So far, doctors participating in the test program reported that they spend 24 percent less of their time every day doing data entry regarding medical records, and 35 percent more time actually interacting and caring for patients.
We already know that students and faculty in the med school program at UC Irvine are starting to integrate Glass into their curriculum, and apps like Drchorono are filling the need for more Glassware focused on the medical field. While it may take a while before seeing doctors wearing Glass feels commonplace, it seems as though it’s a more natural fit than seeing random patrons at the bar rocking Google’s face computers.
Google’s attempt to legitimize Glass by showing off its productivity potential is a wise move, and truly reveals the way wearables can improve a person’s daily life. As far as proving how Glass is a boon to life outside of work, however, Google has a long way to go. Does the new Glass at Work program point to a shift away from targeting consumers in general? We’ll have to wait and see, at least until after Google’s I/O event later this month.