Google reveals Glass updates to chime in with US sale

15 Apr 2014

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Google Glass eyewear

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Today in the US, Google will begin selling the Explorer edition of Glass to anyone who has US$1,500 to splurge. To chime in with this, the technology giant has introduced a number of updates and features for its distinctive digital eyewear.

In a blog post on Google+ last night, Google unveiled six key updates, ranging from KitKat for Glass to photo replies for Hangouts and video calls.

Last week, Google announced it will open up its Glass Explorer programme to any adult in the US on 15 April.

Google said it has been working on a significant upgrade to a new version of Glass software running on Android KitKat that brings improved battery life and makes Glass much easier to update in the future.

It said Android KitKat developers can write Glassware using the latest Android SDK along with new features from the GDK.

A new feature included in the updates is a photo bundling capability that organises video and photos into daily packages.

Users of Google Hangouts within Glass can now send a photo as a means of replying to Hangout messages.

Google has also introduced a new feature to reflect how the voice command menu has grown, grouping them by how recent they are and their frequency.

Video calls not up to standard

Google admitted that video calls aren’t living up to the high standards it sets and said Explorers have told them so directly.

As a result, fewer than 10pc of Glass users use video calling functionality.

“For this reason, we’ve made the hard decision to remove video calls from Glass until the experience is better,” Google said in the blog post.

“We don’t know when that will be, but in the meantime, keep an eye on MyGlass as more Glassware is built and released – we’re already seeing the developer community work on other video-streaming services.”

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com