Over the years, AMT Lab has provided extensive coverage of all things Google and how the company’s tools can make the life of an arts manager easier. However, busy working professionals only have so much capacity to adapt new applications, and not every project that Google has spearheaded has successfully made its way into the mainstream’s routine workday. Over the next few weeks, we’re taking a look back at six of Google’s most talked about projects that we speculated would make a positive dent in arts management practices, and see how they’ve progressed. Last week, we looked at Google Plus and Google Wave, and this week we’ll focus on Google Goggles and Google Glass.
Google Goggles: Back in 2010, Google Goggles made it on our list of the top 10 arts and culture apps. It was touted as a visual search engine that made use of a camera’s smart phone. It was originally developed for Android operating systems only, but eventually made its way onto the iOS format. Both the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Walters Art Museum were early adaptors of the technology, as covered by AMT Lab back in 2012. However, besides the initial hype, have Google Goggles penetrated the arts and tech world any further? Turns out, not really. In fact, the app was completely discontinued from iOS in 2014, and while the app still exists on Android operating systems, Google has made very limited updates to it in almost four years. However, its successor, Google Lens, was announced earlier this year, which is seen by many to be the future of Google’s artificial intelligence driven efforts. If history repeats itself, arts organizations are likely to soon take advantage this app’s functionality like they did with Google Goggles. And, arts managers are likely to find it particularly useful throughout their workday due to features like automatically connecting to Wi-Fi by snapping a photo of a stick on a router, identifying a piece of artwork through a photo, or automatically translating a sign in a foreign language.
Google Glass: Although similar in name to Google Goggles, Google Glass is not the same thing. As defined in AMT Lab’s 2014 publication, “Google Glass is a head mounted wearable computing device. It projects an augmented reality onto the real world via an optic prism and a mini projector that is situated just to the upper right of the user’s field of vision.” We speculated it would present the performing arts industry with a significant opportunities and challenges, and we field tested it among performing artists. It was thought to have the ability to revolutionize the performance experience for audiences with audio or visual impairments, and found early advocates within the opera industry. Stated by Geoff Webb, president of Figaro Systems: “Glass is the future for titles. It is no surprise that the major established companies are not welcoming of such a new and radical solution given the typical audience who is only now coming to terms with smart phones. This resistance is expected and will quickly fade away when used by the audience. It will, I believe, be embraced as projected titles were when first introduced and again when our seatback titles debuted in 1995.” So…did it? Turns out, the prototype that was initially released for $1,500 to select individuals and received so much widespread hype among the tech industry (was even considered by some as 2013’s best invention of the year) was discontinued in 2015.
But not permanently. Instead, Google took some time to reevaluate the technology’s strategy and purpose, and earlier this summer, announced a “MyGlass” companion app update, a variety of bug fixes and now supports Bluetooth. The updates to the app were all part of the release of Google Glass 2.0, or the “Glass Enterprise Edition”. This second iteration of Google Glass shifts the focus away from a consumer driven novelty item and towards a functional tool for the workplace, aimed to help those who can benefit from accessing real-time information hands free, such as factory employees. Putting augmented reality to practical use, Google now defines the technology as “Glass Enterprise Edition is a hands-free device, for hands-on workers that removes distractions and helps you focus on what's most important.” Therefore, technology is not likely to find the role we originally projected it would within the performing arts space, but only time will tell how Google repurposes the core technology in years to come.
Have you used either the Google Goggle or Glass technology in the work place? If so, we'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below!