Google Glass: It's not an enterprise product, get over it

Google Glass: It's not an enterprise product, get over it

Summary: The wearable computer has many benefits. The problem is none of those bear any relevance to enterprise customers, and bring-your-own-device (BYOD) may cause more problems than it's worth.

(Image: Lori Grunin/CNET)

As the niche, developing wearable computing market continues to spin, it will still be some time yet until consumers will embrace this new branch of technology. 

When Google Glass was announced in 2012, it was shown off in all kinds of leisure activities — from photo taking to video filming — and a range of personal activities that would bridge the gap between handheld devices and the real world. There was even the occasional skydive, suggesting anyone with Glass can go anywhere and do anything.

But Glass was not pitched to the enterprise or corporate world, and has yet to find its niche within the walls of business. And it likely won't — at least for the near future.

Google Glass is far from a refined product and has a way to go before it will have any meaningful impact in the consumer space. But while Google continues its public, paid-for and lengthy beta-testing process, it only has the consumer in mind.

It's an experiment that, like other services it has built on over time, could eventually be developed further to include business-minded types. But even then it would have to be, particularly at this early stage in development, a bring-your-own-device (BYOD) requirement rather than an IT budget spending all-out endeavor.

Yes, you can search things on the go. With developer support you could argue that it could boost e-commerce on the shop floor. Maybe it could act as a second or even third display for number crunching. All of these suggestions banded around ZDNet's New York bureau this afternoon seem rather weak, do they not?

There's no doubt that Google Glass could be big business for the search giant, but in turn how it reflects on other business remains at best minimal, and unlikely to dent any significant usage in the enterprise.

By creating apparently more problems than Glass actually solves, the primitive device has seen a significant amount of controversy and concern surrounding whether Glass could breach privacy, record people, invade people's personal space, and all the encompassing features that defines a "glasshole."

Developers: App makers hold the key to Glass' success. Its current bare-bones approach to search and access to its own product range circle isn't enough to bring in the business crowd — even if you're a Google Apps company. Until there's a hearty ecosystem that developers can plug into, there's little point in even taking on the platform. The ecosystem can only thrive with users. It's a one-way street, which becomes a symbiotic relationship.

There is a case that if enterprises fling open the doors to Glass and develop their own internal apps for the device, there's a case in point. But again, there are very few reasons why at this early stage in development 

Android: Glass supports Android, also iPhones. Android is creeping into cubicles across the land, but it's still void of any measurable enterprise-grade security. Some Android phones have been certified with FIPS 140-2 government-grade security thanks to the mobile manufacturers themselves — such as HTC — but that's no thanks to Google. Glass will have to reconsider its position on taking security less than seriously if it wants to make any meaningful impact in business, thanks to the Android factor.

(There is an argument that iPhones and iPads were not pitched to the enterprise either, but the business customer chose Apple after it began to bolster its security and functionality.)

Privacy: Government is a crucial enterprise player, at least in terms of security above other major business sectors, even finance. With varying levels of security clearance in the same office — some with higher access than others — the last thing you're going to want is documents floating around on camera that may or may not be currently filming away. Unless Google tackles this very basic privacy problem, Glass will remain a problem child in the workplace.

The 'stand out' (or lack of): Normally with any enterprise-based product, feature, or service, there's a pitch. Google isn't marketing Glass as an enterprise product, nor should it. There's very little in terms of value that the next-generation specs can actually offer ordinary workers. It doesn't boost productivity. It's a gimmick. Consumers love gimmicks because it's something they can choose to use a product or feature when they like.

For the enterprise, it's a core part of the workflow. Glass doesn't have one single feature or productivity factor that stands out and screams, "use me." If there were, we'd be harping on about it. For now, or at least until Google Glass 2.0 begins to embrace the worker population, there's little to offer in terms of 'stand out' quality.

Cost: Considering all of the above, the cost of the device alone is an enterprise turn-off, but also the very fact that the weak reasons that could be thrown in Glass' direction to justify even a small rollout across a corporate base. There may be some industries that may benefit from Glass, but if those benefits are limited to having something within your immediate eyesight rather than fetching your smartphone from out of your pocket, frankly you need to get less picky, more productive employees.

You don't need a million reasons to justify Glass. You just need one, and there don't appear to be any.


Topics: Google, Enterprise Software

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  • Words to be swallowed in the near future....

    "You don't need a million reasons to justify Glass. You just need one, and there don't appear to be any."

    The Microsoft barometer points to fear of this product. There's a storm coming and ZDNet is little shelter for MS.

    In the automotive repair business alone I can see many uses and the apps are being developed.

    Good luck on the FUD campaign ZDNet
    • Zack does not mean narrow specific uses like automative repair

      Those kinds of uses are narrow. He means variant of possible mass use in usual offices. As I have put it bluntly below, GG will be BANNED.
    • Good luck with the FUD campaign? Are you really that far gone?

      What world do you live in?

      Seriously? What cockeyed backward messed up land of the lost do you survive in?

      You mean the pro Windows FUD campaign like the one being lead by SJVN? That FUD campaign? Or maybe even the FUD campaign where the normally pro MS Ed Bott just explained how the least of MS worries with the Windows 8 UI is the missing start button because there are even worse things about the UI than that?? That pro MS FUD???

      Do you mean the anti Google Glass FUD campaign the entire world is slowly beginning to think about? The numerous news articles about businesses and government institutions as well as many everyday individuals wondering how well they would like a world where the streets could potentially be crawling with these things? That FUD campaign??

      Is that the one?
      • In answer to your question

        "Seriously? What cockeyed backward messed up land of the lost do you survive in?"

        Planet earth, 2013 and obviously not the paranoid planet you and your ilk are residing on.

        It is a common ploy for those spreading FUN to try and use misdirection and point the finger at others. You do a poor job of covering up your attempt at misdirection.

        Seems that some ZDNet bloggers like stirring the pot of commenters here who would like everyone that might like to find good uses of GG to think there is widespread paronoia about a hands-free wearable video camera. Fact is the only ones thinking of sick, perverted ways GG could be used and planting the thought that an angry mob of paranoid villagers will bludgeon you to death if you are caught with such a device are the usual Microsoft shills of ZDNet.

        Personally, as a developer who embraces this type of innovation I can think of many apps to create that will be used in the business, agriculture, research and academic marketplaces. And yes Zack, that includes the type of big, tall office buildings your daddy works in.
        • My kingdome for an edit button....

          The above should read: It is a common ploy for those spreading FUD to try and use misdirection and point the finger at others. You do a poor job of covering up your attempt at misdirection.
    • So what uses do you see for the automotive repair business??

      Because all I can think is a waste of the mechanic's time by being forced by big brother to record everything they do.
      • Truly ZDnet talkback is full mentally unstable people.

        Wackoe, how about experts guiding the a less resourcesful mechanic with a situation in a car? How about an automated system created by the car maker to help the mechanic with AI in the cloud seeeing the same things the mechanic sees?

        Sorry for you GlassHaters, but there a lots applications that can be done with the device.
  • Use for Google Glass

    I agree with DancesWithTrolls. Also I can see porn being produced with these.
    • Care to Elaborate on the Porn Comment?

      JK. A head mounted camera is often used by a porn "actor" to record. This technique is not used in the production of good porn videos.
    • The porn industry, an early Internet innovation producing industry

      is already dreaming up many ways to use Goolge Glass:

      There are many other writers who have covered that outside of the walled garden of ZDNet. A quick Google of: Glass Porn will find several articles on the subject.
      • JK = Just Kidding

        did not want to know.
  • Totally wrong

    It is understandable for you to not seeing any enterprise product on glass, not everybody has a vision. But we do. Not every enterprise product is for millions of employees, some only for the managers, or higher level managements (analytic, real-time alerts etc). If they want it in their phone now, they will want it in glass soon. Wait for a couple of years, there will be thousand of enterprise apps on glass.
    • For example?

      Any specific enterprise apps you can think of, other than porn?
      • sure.

        Health inspectors.
        Building inspectors.
        Divers (with more local processing).
        Security personnel.
        Sewer workers.

        Lots of places that need reference material AND both hands.
        • Don't Think So

          Definitely not surgery. They are way beyond Glass Tech.

          Not likely nursing, patient privacy concerns, and too many mistakes are made where Glass would record evidence that would be used against them. I expect hospitals to ban Glass. Most have banned mobile phones.

          Mechanics would not be caught dead wearing nerdware and are some of the biggest technophobes.

          Health & Building Inspectors, tight budget, and no return on investment.

          Police is too broad to know what you mean. I cannot think where they could use it. Not interrogations they prefer to be subtle about recording.

          Patrol cops, the nerdware factor. They would be teased by other cops. There are many cops already required to wear a surveillance camera. I wish they all would be required, then they would not be able to lie in court.

          TSA maybe, they love surveillance, but their job is not very complex no real need.

          Divers, Sewers, I know nothing about, no comment.

          Security? If as in Rent a cop, no, extremely tight budgets and moronic personnel.

          EMT that could be a winner. Remote doctor sees what's going on, if the doc needs to send images to help explain an emergency procedure. Could save lives, good ROI.

          I like the EMT, that could be the App I'd develop if I were willing to business with Jackals.
          • wrong.

            Nursing definitely - Just not necessarily in the current incarnation. I believe they would be using a local server. That covers your "privacy concerns" entirely. If you don't think so, then don't go to the hospital. Even now, all your "privacy" is handled the same way - wards even have built in cameras, though you won't know it unless they tell you.

            Mechanics - depends on how stupid they are. The smart ones will used it and be able to service less familiar cars, aircraft, ... the stupid ones won't have a job.

            Health and Building ? are you kidding. It would provide the best evidence collection ever.

            Police -always - just like the usefulness of the dashboard cameras. Evidence collection surely - even for the minor traffic pullover. If something goes wrong, everything could be recorded. And as you say, they wouldn't be able to lie about it.

            Divers and sewers need LOTS of reference material - neither can see very far in the dark/underwater so maps would be extremely useful. Both already use maps, but handling maps in either place is awkward as you need both hands for other purposes.

            TSA only needs it in emergencies - but if it isn't already present it isn't available for emergencies either...

            EMT is medical - and applies to doctors and nurses as well. If you accept the EMT, then you also have to accept the others.
          • Google Glass Would Violate HIPAA

            You mentioned "Local Server". I doubt that will be an option with Google Glass. In the current Terms of Sale it states:
            You acknowledge and agree that Google will determine and use your location, that photos and videos taken on your Device will be added to your Google+ Instant Upload album, and that your Device will display information sent to devices that are synced with it (such as text messages).

            Google is in the business of collecting and selling personal information. This includes your Sensitive Personal Information which explicitly states medical.

            Hospitals must deal with the complexities of patient confidentiality every day. HIPAA does not allow a hospital to put any patient information on the hospital's Google+ profile. Not even their name. Pictures and
            Video are not exceptions to the rule.

            Do not be fooled when Google says "such as", "for example", and "includes". These phrases are an intentional acts of deception. Google does not want the reader of their service policies to think. The phrase "such as" is intended to direct the reader's mind to where Google wants it to go. When you see such a phrase you need to stop re-read the prior statement and think not in terms of the user but in terms of what and why Google is making this statement. What can Google derive and sell.

            The following is from Google's general Terms of Service
            When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services),...

            Again, note how they re-direct your mind with the phrase "such as". "create derivative works" means what ever use Google can dream to use. When Google says "works better with our Services" one might be inclined to think they are referring to making the service work better for the user. This may be partially true. Google is also referring to the services that generate Billions of dollars. Which service do you think Google gives priority? Is that consistent with what a read may be inclined to think?

            Malpractice liability and way to mitigate liability are ingrained in hospital policy. I do not see any possibility hospital administrators will allow the collection of evidence to be used against them.

            You may have some idealistic image of nursing. Nurses are overworked and underpaid. So much so, that the quality of nursing care has greatly diminished over the past few decades. The dedicated hardworking nurse is in a minority, the lazy self-centered nurse is the norm. It is a fairly common occurrence when a patient monitor alerts, the patient dies as the nurse sleeps.

            Not going to see Glass in a hospital.
          • Not really.

            I'm fairly familiar with nursing and hospitals.

            Staff are always overworked, and ANYTHING that can help reduce accidents will be helpful - like being able to double check that the patient that passed out in the bed is the right patient... and without having to stop emergency work.

            Being able to double check medicines without having to go back to the central desk...

            Being able to record vital statistics without having to interrupt taking them...

            Being able to check references on the fly without having to go back to the central desk to look them up... and keep hands free for actually handling the patients.

            My sister is/has been in charge of the pediatrics ward for quite a few years. Anything that reduces the amount of walking and other wasted time without burdening with still more things to carry is a benefit.
          • Really

            I too am very familiar with nursing and hospitals. I have been employed by two hospitals (St. Lukes and St. Francis, Milwaukee WI) as a biomedical engineer. For the past 20 years I have been do programming for a number of laboratories providing test results to doctors, hospitals, and other laboratories.

            When my mother was ill I was dealing with a plethora of medical practitioners. When gathering all my mother's records I asked for the records in PDF format and to be emailed to me.

            Given that is, technologically, a very simple a very simple task. Percentage-wise how many do you think were able to accommodate my request? The answer is exactly 0.00%.

            In my work with labs my software going for the past 20 years has been capable of electronically transmitting patients results. Maybe one or two clients used this service.

            Clients have had the choice of receiving patient results in PDF via email, fax, or postal mail, for the past 10 years. Overwhelming choice? Fax. Second choice? Snail mail.

            So who is going to integrate Google Glass with the hospitals medical records???

            With Obama's requirement and incentives to medical practitioners to implement Electronic Medical Records EMR, I have worked with many EMR vendors in an attempt to transmit the patients test results from the Labs to various EMR software.

            Those that actually could do what they claimed possible were cost prohibitive.

            Based on my personal and professional experience with hospitals and doctors, their technical expertise goes only as far as the copy machine and fax.

            Conclusion, it will not be feasible to integrate Glass with medical records.

            You did not address the legal liability issues or Google's Policy to post all pictures and videos on the Glass user Google+ Profile.

            Hospital Patients, Visitors, and Employees all have a reasonable expectation of privacy.

            There are privacy concerns that hospitals cannot ignore.

            According to
            Mary R. Anderlik of
            Health Law & Policy Institute:
            Patients and family members recorded or filmed without their consent may also have a cause of action for intrusion upon seclusion. This tort has two elements: (1) intrusion into a private place, conversation or matter, (2) in a manner highly offensive to a reasonable person. It does not require trespass on private property or publication or broadcast of private facts.
            Sanders v. ABC, the court added that "the fact that the privacy one expects in a given setting is not complete or absolute does not render the expectation unreasonable.")
            Whether or not the recording is broadcast has no bearing on the case. Just the fact the recording took place is sufficient grounds.

            And what about HIPAA? Patient confidentiality?

            I have been dealing with HIPAA for the past 10+ years. Transmitting to Google will not fly, Google's requirement to post all photos and videos on Google+ is an absolute deal breaker.

            While I was employed at St. Lukes Hospital a former neighbor, on the hospital's maintenance staff successfully sued the hospital when he was fired due to surveillance in the lunch room revealing comments he made about his boss to fellow employees.

            Employees have the least expectation of privacy compared to patients and visitors. The courts have consistently ruled in favor of employees in invasion of privacy cases.

            Conclusion, Not only hospitals but all business will put themselves at risk by allowing Glass on their premises.
          • Google Glass May Be Considered an Invasion of Privacy.

            Google Glass users put themselves at risk for civil and in some cases criminal liability.

            The right to privacy, or in other words the right to be let alone, is a right held near and dear to the American public.

            Privacy is not a 4th Amendment issue. Only law enforcement or those acting on behalf of law enforcement are subject to the 4th Amendment.

            Most State Lawmakers and Courts use the 4th Amendment constitutional case law as a guideline for privacy.

            Invasion of Privacy is comprised of four distinct torts.

            1) Appropriation of one's name or picture for personal or commercial advantage.
            2) Publicity given to private life, not of legitimate concern to the public (e.g. crimes, arrests and accidents)
            3) Unreasonable intrusion upon seclusion
            4) The publication of facts which place a person in a false light, even if not defamatory.

            To sue successfully for invasion of privacy, a plaintiff only has to prove only one of the four torts, not all.

            Showing of malice, harm, or damage is not always required to file suit. Damages are sometimes left to the judge so the plaintiff does not need to show damage in court proceedings.

            A business environment reduces but does not eliminate an expectation of privacy. Exceptions are made for closely regulated businesses for making inspections.

            In some places of business the expectation of privacy is the same as in the privacy of their home such as hotel, meeting, and hospital rooms. A large non-public convention may have less expectation of privacy than a small convention. Some events prohibit recording.

            Publishing a person preforming an act from which they derive income is legally actionable.

            Even though a hospital patient granted an interview
            to a reporter and talked about her illness, she
            did not give the reporter permission to use her photograph, and when her photograph was published, she had grounds for an invasion of privacy suit.

            A business open to the public reduces but does not eliminate and expectation of privacy. For example:

            Photographing or recording a person eating in a restaurant may be intrusive if the person is dining in a private or secluded section of the restaurant.

            Photographs and video made in places not open to the public require consent.

            The recording need only to be made, to be an invasion of privacy, publication is not required.

            Consent to enter a home is not consent to record.

            The right to privacy is an evolving portion of the law, and in most jurisdictions many legal questions remain unanswered.

            Privacy laws vary from state to state. Some states have obscure privacy laws.

            In the above I have attempted to interpret privacy law as applicable in most States.

            For the past three years I have been a pro se defendant in a ongoing defamation suit. Defamation and Invasion of Privacy have many issues in common. I have spent countless hours researching case law and court opinions.

            I have been arrested too many times and therefore have for many years studied constitutional law mostly having to do with the 4th Amendment.

            As so I am better informed on privacy rights than the majority of the general public, and cops.

            I conclude that the use of Google Glass represents a significant risk to its users.