It's official: Google Glass is back (and this time it means business, literally)

 
Lynsey Barber
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2013 Google Developer Conference Continues In San Francisco
Glass has been reinvented for business (Source: Getty)

Remember Google Glass? After suggestions that the tech giant could be working on it again with a recent software update following a lengthy hiatus, it's officially back.

Widely rounded on for encapsulating the worst of tech and creating the "glasshole", you might say it was ahead of its time - augmented reality is having a serious moment right now.

It turns out Google has been secretly been testing out the device with top businesses such as GE and DHL for the past two years, after ending production of the glasses in its then-form in 2015.

Read more: This startup's raised £12m to make augmented reality, well, a reality

It had promised some sort of consumer product, insisting that it wasn't killing it off, but it's been so long, some people might have been starting to wonder.

Now, with augmented reality starting to take off (thanks Pokemon Go!), Google has revealed all about what it's been up to.

The Glass Enterprise Edition is now being made available more widely to businesses, looking to enhance things like production lines and patient care.

DHL for example, has been using it to give workers information when picking orders, with the delivery business reporting a 15 per cent increase in operatonal efficiency as a result.

"Glass allows us to pick faster than normal and reduces the amount of errors that can happen. It's quite easy to learn to use. Every piece of information you need is available on one screen," said one employee.

And California health company Sutter Health has been using Glass to free doctors from paperwork, saving them two hours a day on average, and meaning they can spend more time with patients. Glass takes note on the doctors behalf while they're speaking with the patient.

Read more: Augmented reality architect or digital banker? 13 future millennial careers

Google says 50 businesses are using it, including Boeing and Volkswagen.

"Workers in many fields, like manufacturing, logistics, field services, and healthcare find it useful to consult a wearable device for information and other resources while their hands are busy," said Glass project lead Jay Kothari in a blog post.

"That’s why we’ve spent the last two years working closely with a network of more than 30 expert partners to build customised software and business solutions for Glass for people in these fields. We’ve also made improvements to the design and hardware so that it’s lightweight and comfortable for long term wear. We’ve increased the power and battery life too."

He also noted that the Glass team is working back within Google's "moonshot" X team. Its development had moved under the wing of Tony Fadell, the developer of smart home startup Nest which Google acquired. Charged with the consumer development, he departed Google parent company Alphabet last year after some troubles with how Nest was working out.

Never one to let a good idea go to waste, Glass has been resurrected and reinvented as a business product with far clearer applications than the everyday product did.

What with Apple and Facebook both pushing into AR and VR, it's a savvy move.

Google Glass is dead, long live Google Glass.

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