Google Glass didn’t gain many fans with the first, experimental version of the wearable. But Google has a second version of Google Glass in development. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, Manuela Mesco reports that Massimo Vian, the chief executive of Italian eyewear maker Luxottica, said that a new version of Google Glass is in the works and will be out soon. Google isn’t giving up on Google Glass even though it stopped selling the first version of Glass and shut down the Explorer Program earlier this year.
Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said at the time that Google Glass is a big and fundamental platform for the company: “We ended the Explorer program and the press conflated this into us canceling the whole project, which isn’t true. Google is about taking risks and there’s nothing about adjusting Glass that suggests we’re ending it.” Instead, Schmidt said that Glass, like Google’s driverless car, is a long-term project. Google put Tony Fadell, head of Google’s Nest connected home division, in charge of strategy for the project in order to “make it ready for users.”
A Google spokeswoman told the Journal that “the team is heads down building the future of the product,” but declined to provide specifics. Luxottica’s Vian also didn’t provide any details about the timing for the launch of the next version of Google Glass. “In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear],” Vian told shareholders. “What you saw was version 1. We’re now working on version 2, which is in preparation.” (It’s not clear exactly what Vian means by his allusion to second thoughts about “version 3″ of a product whose second model hasn’t yet been released.)
In January, Glass Chief Ivy Ross said that the next version of Google Glass will be cheaper, offer longer battery life, have improved sound quality, and feature a better display. Google will also attempt to counter the significant social stigma associated with the device by pairing the tech with more familiar forms of eyewear. Luxottica is behind well-known brands like Ray-Ban and Oakley, and could help Google remake Glass into stylish eyewear that people will want to wear on a regular basis.
Writing for The Next Web, Nick Scholz recently reported that in addition to targeting consumers, Google will continue to target enterprise customers through the Glass at Work program it established last summer. While Google still has a lot to prove with Glass, research suggests that businesses are ready to adopt wearable technology in the workplace. A Forrester survey found that out of 3,000 technology decision-makers, 68% of executives consider wearables a “priority” for their companies. In Scholz’s assessment, Google Glass 2.0 will need to improve security and add features that enhance productivity and collaboration.
And while Google said that the first version of Glass would have adequate battery life to last through a day’s worth of use, many found that it would run out of power in just four to six hours. The next version of the device will need to be able to last through an entire workday, even while performing video conferencing and other battery-draining functions. Google could also add security enhancements to address the fact that the first version lacked password or PIN protection, and automatically stored recorded events in a user’s Google+ account.
Additionally, Scholz thinks that Google Glass should come equipped with a native app for storing and sharing data. Google could equip Google Drive with enhanced security features and make it “seamless” to access and use via Google Glass. The next version of Google Glass could also integrate enhanced dictation software to enable users to transcribe notes, dictate emails, and enable hands-free communication.