Google envisions Glass in businesses

The company launched a program for companies and developers to promote the development of business apps for Glass

Google wants to put its Glass headmounted computer system to work.

The company is looking to partner with enterprise software developers and businesses as part of a push to get Glass into the hands of companies who could use it in their operations.

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Through its "Explorer" program, Glass is already used by thousands of software developers and early adopters who are tinkering with the product and creating applications for consumers. Now, Google wants to replicate that initiative for business applications.

Google calls the effort the "Glass at Work Explorer Program," and companies and software developers interested in participating can apply online. "If you're a developer who is creating software for U.S. based enterprises, we'd love your help in building the future of Glass at Work," Google said.

Since its unveiling, Glass has generated questions over what it's supposed to be used for, including what advantages it could offer over a mobile smartphone. Some businesses like bars have banned it so their patrons don't feel uncomfortable around those wearing Glass, which has a voice-activated camera.

Others are already using Glass in ways that seem productive. Wearable Intelligence, for instance, is working to customize Glass' default Android software for health professionals and energy workers. In one scenario, a paramedic in an ambulance could use Glass to access a patient's vital signs and medical history, as depicted in a YouTube video posted by the company.

Schlumberger, an oilfield services company, has also partnered with Wearable Intelligence to use Glass to increase the safety and efficiency of employees in the field, Google said. The Washington Capitals professional hockey team, meanwhile, has partnered with the software company APX Labs to deliver real-time stats, instant replay and different camera angles to fans via Glass.

There is a lot of hype around wearable devices like Glass, but over the next 10 years more businesses could employ the technology in concrete, useful ways, according to a recent report from Forrester Research.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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