Google's Glass project is getting a shot in the arm with the New York Police Department and Virgin Atlantic both announcing that they're testing the computerized eyeglasses.
Google has about 8,000 early adopters trying out Glass, which is still in the prototype stage. With the wearable computers expected to be shipped sometime this year, there haven't been many reports of companies or organizations testing them out.
Now that's changing.
Stephen Davis, deputy commissioner of the New York City Police Department said in an email to Computerworld that as part of an ongoing interest in new technology, the department regularly reviews different devices and consumer electronics.
"The devices have not been deployed in any actual field or patrol operations, but rather are being assessed as to how they may be appropriately utilized or incorporated into any existing technology-based functions," wrote Davis.
Meanwhile, British airline Virgin Atlantic said this morning that the company's concierge staff in its Upper Class club at London's Heathrow airport will be using Google Glass in a six-week pilot program.
"Virgin Atlantic... is the first in the industry to test how the latest wearable technology, including Google Glass, can best be used to enhance customers' travel experiences and improve efficiency," the airline said. "From the minute Upper Class passengers step out of their chauffeured limousine at Heathrow's T3 and are greeted by name, Virgin Atlantic staff wearing the technology will start the check-in process."
The airline said employees will use the wearable computers to update passengers on their flight information, weather and local events at their destination. They'll also use them to translate foreign languages.
"While it's fantastic that more people can now fly than ever before, the fact that air travel has become so accessible has led to some of the sheen being lost for many passengers," said Dave Bulman, Virgin Atlantic's director of IT . "By being the first in the industry to test how Google Glass and other wearable technology can the improve customer experience, we are upholding Virgin Atlantic's long tradition of shaking things up and putting innovation at the heart of the flying experience."
Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed. Her email address is email@example.com.
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This story, "Google Glass: On Patrol and in the Air?" was originally published by Computerworld.