Google has started to distribute a new version of Google Glass to select business partners, according to a report from the Wall Street Journal. The new version has been introduced with little fanfare, and a consumer model is still at least another year away, sources told the paper.
Google has changed up the form factor of Glass for the new business version, and is now distributing a model that doesn’t come with its own frame. Instead, Glass now clips onto existing glasses, which suggests it may be used in professions in which people routinely wear safety goggles. The Journal reports some of the first partners are in health care, manufacturing and energy.
Also new: The device’s display, which consists of a translucent glass cube, is bigger, and can now be placed either horizontally or vertically, suggesting that it will be used with customized applications built for certain business uses.
Google first introduced a so-called explorer edition of Glass two years ago, initially selling it only to select developers and alpha testers. However, the device quickly became controversial, in part due to an integrated camera that could be used to capture photo and video of conversation partners and bystanders.
Google announced in January that it was discontinuing sales of the explorer version of Glass. At the time, it put Nest exec Tony Fadell in charge of turning the project around. Fadell went on the record in May to say that there are “no sacred cows” when it comes to rebooting Glass for consumers.