Google has pushed out a new update for Google Glass Explorers, the early testers and purchasers of the ambitious wearable tech. Most notable in the XE5 update is the addition of Google+ functionality in Glass, specifically allowing you to comment on, and +1 entries on Google's social network. You can also receive incoming Google Hangout invitations. Here's a full rundown of the changes:
- Change to sync policy: require power + WiFi for background uploads
- Crash reporting
- Incoming G+ notifications (direct shares, comments, +mentions), including ability to comment and +1
- Incoming Hangout notifications
- Transcription of queries & messages is now wicked-fast
- Long-press to search from anywhere in the UI (no longer just from off)
- International number dialing + SMS
- Hop animation on disallowed swipes in the UI
- New On-Head Detection calibration flow
- Show device Serial Number on Device Info card
- More reliable estimation of battery charge remaining
- New recipient-list mosaic
As you can see, Google is steadily improving the Glass experience, even as it's just in the beta Explorer stage. With a year-or-so before it hits mass market, the company has a lot of time to refine the technology to get it ready for the meanstream. They'll need to, in order to quiet the jokes.
Windows Phone users have been patiently waiting for a full-fledged YouTube app, and today it has finally arrived. Replacing the glorified mobile web version of YouTube "app," the new version brings all the native Windows Phone 8 love in parity with YouTube's standard features. You can share videos to other social networks, log in to your account to access your favorites and playlists, and even do stuff like set videos, channels, and even search queries as Live Tiles on the homescreen--something unique to Windows Phone. You can grab the new Windows Phone YouTube app right now.
Read More | Windows Phone Blog
With this past weekends Saturday Night Live spoof, Google Glass has officially gone mainstream. As part of Weekend Update with Seth Meyers, Fred Armisen plays Tech Correspondent Randall Meeks, and tries to explain just how revolutionary Glass can be, all while trying to work within the constraints of poor speech recognition and awkward gestures. Yes, it's a spoof, and therefore, it is very exaggerated--but that's what makes it funny. We've embedded the Hulu clip below, after the break, for your enjoyment.
Despite Google Glass Explorer Edition units already being in the hands of developers, it appears that Google won't be ready to release Glass to the masses for another year or so. Originally the company had hopes to release it's wearable computing device by the end of 2013 for general consumers, but comments from Eric Schmidt in an interview on BBC Radio 4 says otherwise.
In response to a question asking when Glass will be available, Schmidt said, "there will be thousands of [Google Glass] in use by developers over the next months, and then based on their feedback, we'll make some product changes, and it's probably a year-ish away."
Obviously, we are in mid-April, so it sounds like the earliest we'll see Glass hit the market will be Spring 2014. A disappointment to many, we're sure, but a device like Glass needs to be done just right, and we're glad to see Google taking the time to get it right before releasing it. You can listen to the interview here--fast forward to the 4-minute mark to hear the Glass discussion.
More on Google Glass:
The HTC One is finally and officially on sale, beginning today, at AT&T and Sprint locations. As we previously mentioned, you can get the 32GB model from both carriers for $199.99 with two-year contract, but the 64GB version is an AT&T exclusive at $299.99. As of today, you can get the white model--the black version won't be available for a number of weeks. If you're holding out for the T-Mobile version, you're gonna have to wait a few more days, as the HTC One doesn't drop on Magenta until April 24th.
Google is giving out a few dozen Google Glass Explorer Edition units each day, rolling them out to developers as they are being made, rather than waiting until all are done to get them out at the same time. The result? A bunch of excited devs getting their hands on Glass, and giving their opinions on the future tech. We're already seen images of the Google Glass box contents, and now Brandon Allgood gives a great first impression on his Google+ account. Here's a snippet:
I wore Glass all day today. It was light and didn't bother me to do so. The battery truly lasted all day. I didn't however take long videos or hangout for very long. I am also not very popular on G+ and most of my email goes to my business account so I didn't mind the "ding" when I got an email or G+ comment. Most of my co-workers were excited about seeing Glass. Some were a little uncomfortable about it. Overall the reaction has been positive and people aren't bothered by me wearing it in meetings and such. I do live in Silicon Valley, so your experience may differ. I found that my habits will nee to be modified. For example I just need to tint my head back (which turns on the display) and I can see the time. No more looking for a clock or pulling out my phone. I also don't need to check my email on my phone or computer. I found myself from time to time hearing the chime and then pulling my email up on my computer and not Glass. I am over that now.
Hit the link below to head on over to Brandon's Google+ post for the rest. It's a good read on what it's like when you first get Glass, and the process of getting used to using it, the expected, and the unexpected.
Read More | Brandon Allgood Google+
Google Glass units are starting to land in the hands of developers who've signed up for the early Explorer Edition of the device, and images and videos are making their way to the Internet with the quickness. For example, Brandon Allgood posted an image of Glass unboxed to his Google+ page, showing everything it comes with. If you're curious, along with Glass, Explorers also get two different visor lenses (clear and shaded,) a carrying bag with a hard plastic area, AC adapter, and a USB cable for charging all in a Nexus-like box. Hard to believe that Google Glass is finally here, but the units are making their way out into the wild. Google says that it hopes to release Glass to the masses before the end of the year.
Read More | Google+
Google confirmed today that Google Glass units are rolling off the production line, with paying Explorer Edition members set to start receiving their devices in the coming weeks. The expectation was that the Google Glass Explorer Edition would begin to ship at the beginning of next month, and it appears that Google is right on track. The Explorer Edition of Google Glass is an early-access model that allows developers to get their hands on the device and API, readying Google Glass experiences for customers when Glass goes on sale publicly near the end of the year.
Read More | Google
Facebook Home is now available for download on Google Play, as promised last week at the Facebook Home announcement event. If you're the owner of an HTC One X, HTC One X+, Samsung Galaxy S III, or Samsung Galaxy Note II, you are good to go and can download and apply Facebook's launcher right away. You can also pick up the HTC First, which ships with Facebook Home built right in. The HTC One and Samsung Galaxy S 4 will also be capable of running Facebook Home.
As a reminder, Facebook Home is a replacement lock screen, home screen, and chat experience for compatible Android smartphones, bringing pictures feeds to the forefront, and the new Chat Heads feature that will allow you to stay manage Facebook messages in a much more efficient way.
Read More | Facebook Home
"It's important that Apple not be the developer for the world. We can't take all of our energy, and all of our care, and finish the painting and have someone else put their name on it." - Tim Cook, Apple CEO
The same statement rings true for Google. If others are reaping the rewards, and little to nothing is left for oneself, then what's the point? If a product does not meet the expectations set before it, then developing for it doesn't make much sense. If any given product is not self-sustainable, then it is not cost effective and eventually becomes a burden to the maker--even if users appear to enjoy using it. Make no mistake about it, Google is in the business of making money, and everything else is secondary (including good will.)
Google's co-founder and now recently-minted CEO, Larry Page, bought Android in 2005. He also brought along Andy Rubin, one of its creators, over to Google, who recently renounced his post as Senior Vice President of mobile Digital Content. Basically, the guy who was leading Android. It has been said that Sergey Brin, the other tandem co-founder, was not enthusiastic about the purchase. Former Google CEO at the time, Eric Schmidt, now Chairman at Google had a similar reaction. These somewhat pessimistic receptions were also shared by Vic Gundotra, Senior Vice President of Engineering. However, he recanted these thoughts at Google I/O 2010.