I own Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Glass but I haven't been able to find a day-to-day reason to put on the wearable computing device. But perhaps Google's first round of Glass at Work partners can convince me -- and others -- to put the devices on while working on the job.
The first five partners include:
- APX Labs, maker of SkyLight -- which provides hands-free access to enterprise data.
- AugMedix, which has some momentum in the electronic health record (EHR) market.
- CrowdOptic, which develops software for live broadcasts -- from sports and entertainment to building security.
- GuidiGo, which makes museum and cultural content more accessible to everyone through guided tours.
- Wearable Intelligence, which develops so-called glassware for energy, manufacturing, healthcare and more.
Those partnerships surfaced today -- roughly one week after Salesforce.com (NYSE:CRM) announced its own wearable software development effort. (Which Host Mike Elgan and I discussed during Tech News Today on June 10.)
Overall, my thoughts on wearable computing have run hot and cold. When I first heard about Google Glass, I believed it would catch on with remote workers -- particularly insurance agents, real estate professionals and IT professionals who have to take pictures in the field. But once I started using Google Glass on my own I became less impressed.
First Impression? Not Great
Think of it this way: The first time you purchased and used a smartphone -- perhaps the iPhone or an Android device -- the experience was likely amazing. Nearly instantly, you knew how to navigate the web, make a call or fetch a new app simply with a few touches of the screen.
In stark contrast, Google Glass has a learning curve and there aren't many "great" applications for the wearable device. At least not yet.
Google Glassware Developers
That's where software developers enter the picture. Two decades ago, Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) rallied developers around Windows. Nearly a decade ago, Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) rallied developers around iOS. And now Google is starting to rally developers around Glass, while Salesforce.com is making similar move.
It's still too early to say whether Glass will transform from a niche consumer product into a mainstream business tool. But I'm consistently impressed by Google's efforts. The search giant is starting to show exactly how Glass can potentially change markets.
One example involves Dignity Health, which partnered with AugMedix and Google to deploy a physician application that vastly improves the Electronic Medical Records (EMR) process.
Angel Investors Coming Soon?
I haven't made any "wearable" computing investments to date. Alas, I view most early smart watches as part of a fad. But Google and Salesforce.com, respectively, are now making the push for business applications. And as I search the IT market for angel investments, those wearable moves have certainly caught my attention.
Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. The author is long on Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) and Rackspace (NYSE:RAX), and holds technology stocks through a range of mutual funds.