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InfoQ Homepage News Developers Can Now Get Access to Google Glass Enterprise 2

Developers Can Now Get Access to Google Glass Enterprise 2

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Google has removed restrictions for official third-party resellers to sell Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 directly to developers. Far from opening Google Glass to consumers, this decision aims to make it easier to develop specialized enterprise applications based on Google Glass Enterprise Edition.

Previously to this announcement, enterprises and businesses interested in using Glass Enterprise Edition 2 were required to join Google network of Glass Enterprise solution partners, or make a direct call to Google sales team. Now Google has changed their approach to make it easier for any interested party to start working with Google Glass. Google's decision has been driven by developers' and businesses' strong demand to access the hardware, the company says, and it will presumably mostly benefit low-budget projects that were unwilling to join the Google Glass partner network.

Google has also published a number of sample applications to help developers to get started developing for Glass. Those include how to build a basic head up display interface, how to take photos and videos with the Camera2 API, how to scan QR codes, and more.

It is important to note that this is not in any way a decision aiming to make Google Glass available to consumers, since the hardware is only available through a limited list of authorized resellers.

When Google launched Google Glass to both consumers and developers in 2013, it raised a number of harsh critiques, mostly due to it opening a large can of privacy concerns. This led the company to discontinue the product in 2015, only to relaunch it in 2017 with a focus on specialized enterprise applications. Since then, as Google explains, Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2 has seen adoption in logistics, manufacturing, healthcare, and other industries where the availability of an AR display projecting useful information while leaving the user's hands free to carry out the work is key.

This state of things is echoed by Facebook Reality Labs lead Michael Abrash, who recently stated that mass AR adoption through devices such as Google Glass will take still five to ten years. Abrash identifies a number of technical hurdles that need to be overcome before glass-based AR technology can become successful in the consumer arena, with the top one being user interaction:

There is no way that the way we’re going to interact with AR is going to be the way that we interact with our devices today. You’re not going to take out your phone every time you want to do something. You’re not going to use a keyboard and mouse.

Abrash points at the work Facebook is doing on haptic gloves as the direction to go. However, this does not mean no one is currently working on glass-based augmented reality devices. For example, slated to be shipping in 2020, North is working on its Focals, which are marketed as "smart glasses", and aimed to work as a mobile phone companion with its ability to display notifications and reply to them, in addition to integrations with many popular mobile apps.

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