Google is hoping to nail the aesthetics and fashion alongside of improved audio, battery performance, and resolution, while meeting AR needs.
Google’s own Google Glass hardware wasn’t a flop. The device was perfect for hands-free actions, utilizing voice command to set appointment dates or reminders, snap pictures of interesting phenomena, respond to text messages, and so on.
At the same time, however, Google Glass had its problems: it was not a fashionable product, according to fashion-conscious users (“too geeky” was the claim; apparently, they’ve never seen Sony’s $800 glasses), and it was too privacy-invasive: it could take photos of persons who didn’t consent to photographs, among other things. Google Glass was at the forefront of a string of crimes, particularly one in California where a woman was attacked and thrown out of a bar because she used Google Glass to film a fighting duo (who wanted to attack her afterwards).
To add to the problems, Google Glass was only an Explorer addition (for developers) and had a staggering $1,500USD price tag. Google had said at one point that eyecare centers would be able to sell prescription lenses within Google Glass and that consumers could make full use of their health insurance when purchasing Google’s glass gadget. These things never came to fruition, and the hype around Google Glass has been dead for some time.
You can never count on Google to be predictable, however – which means that the field is now ripe for a Google Glass resurrection. According to the latest FCC filing from Mountain View, on Wednesday, Google wants to revive Google Glass (a.k.a Google Glass version 2). While we can think of it as Google Glass 2, the FCC filing labels the product “GG1.” Could the label be indicative of Google’s intention to make Google Glass a commercial product for the first time, to be purchased outside of the developer realm with a more consumer-friendly price tag? The “GG1” could take into account the fact that Google Glass has yet to arrive on the market as an official product for consumers en masse.
Perhaps some of the specs and features of this mysterious “GG1” product will appease your curiosity. The FCC filing points to the product containing Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (on both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands), rechargeable, non-removable batteries, and comes with an AC charger and a USB cable that will allow it to connect to PCs. Finally, the device has an FCC product ID number A4R-GG1. The “A4R” label, to not confuse you, refers to Google products, not something to do with augmented reality (although it would be fitting if Google Glass was indeed the mysterious product).
The only other piece of evidence we have to draw a conclusion about this is the fact that the Wall Street Journal did say back in April that Google planned to bring Google Glass to market, and, Google says that it has not yet abandoned Glass. “In Google, there are some second thoughts on how to interpret version 3 [of the eyewear]. What you saw was version 1. We’re now working on version 2, which is in preparation,” Luxottica’s co-CEO Mr. Vian said to shareholders earlier this spring. Google is teaming up with Italian eyewear firm Luxottica to offer a more improved version of Glass.
Apart from the fashion implications, Google Glass is an excellent device for those who want a hands-free experience when driving on the road (similar to current Bluetooth headphones), in a patient surgery (doctors), or walking to a cafeteria for lunch and having conversation with a secretary or boss. While Google Glass didn’t fully commercialize, it did have the appeal of doctors in the US, with a number of medical centers debuting the technology.
The company says that Google Glass version 2 (or GG1, as the FCC filing suggests) will offer better battery life, a better display, and improved audio. As for whether or not fashion-conscious users will adopt it, we’ll have to wait and see.