Man, Google Glass moves at the speed of light. This is crazy.

The big XE5 update just hit the interwebs, so that means it's time for a teardown! XE5 is still Android 4.0.4 based, but now we're up to build 4.0.4-665738; the old version was 4.0.4-625737.

The Glass Team is still extraordinarily messy; any new file usually has copies in a million different locations. Basically, everything ships in every APK. Maybe the Glass Team is using extremely bad organization as a form of Teardown obfuscation. (It's not working.)

Take A Note

It looks like note taking is coming to Google Glass! There's a new file in every glass APK called "google_glass_takeanote_en_us_alpha_sfs_delivery01_am.raw". I am 90% sure .raw files in this context are voice recognition files, so "Take a note" is probably coming as a voice command. That would be so amazing.


This is one of those things that ships in every APK. There are 13 copies of this file.

I also found a thing in the main menu commands that prompts you to "speak your note." That's probably tip text that will pop up after you issue the command.

I really don't have anything other than this one file to show you. I have no idea where the note would go, or what it would interface with - hopefully it's Keep.

More Voice Commands

In fact, here's a list of the voice commands I found in a java file:

additionalCommands = new ArrayList();
OK_GLASS = newStaticCommand("ok glass");
GOOGLE = newStaticCommand("google");
TAKE_PHOTO = newStaticCommand("take picture");
RECORD_VIDEO = newStaticCommand("record video");
HANGOUT_WITH = newStaticCommand("hang out with");
NAVIGATION = newStaticCommand("get directions to");
CALL = newStaticCommand("make a call");
SEND_MESSAGE_TO = newStaticCommand("send message to");
SHOW_MORE_COMMANDS = newStaticCommand("show more commands");
READ_ALOUD = newStaticCommand("read aloud");
REPLY = newStaticCommand("reply");
TAKE_NOTE = newStaticSecondaryCommand("take a note");

"Take a note" is in there, but so are some menu commands: "Read Aloud," and "Reply." There's also a "Show more commands" voice command, would is probably how Google will stop the "ok glass" screen from getting too long as development continues.


One of the things I had sort-of complained about in my XE4 Teardown was how most of the Glass interface was basically a single APK: GlassHome.apk. Google seems to be working toward ununification, because now the camera app has been broken out into its own file: GlassCamera.apk.

2013-05-08 14.25.32 copy

Other than the new tooltip I showed in my XE5 post, it seems to be the normal camera app, just separated from GlassHome. But hey, organization is great! Hopefully this is a sign the camera is getting more work, like a framing mode. (There is currently no way to frame a picture before taking a shot.)

More Wink Work

It seems like winking really is coming to Glass someday, as the Glass Team has added more winking stuff.  There's one new wink string:

    <string name="wink_tip_card_title_prefix">Wink tip #</string>

This string is for a "tip card." The number sign implies there will be multiple tips, but there aren't actually any wink tips yet - it's still a work-in-progress.

There's also a ton of wink layout stuff now. Including a "wink_calibration_activity_menu.xml."

Non-English Language Support

Good news for those of you hoping to get your Glass on in a language other than English: there has been some localization work on Glass. Android apps ship a stock "values" folder, which contains all the text for an app. Localized apps have additional folders called "values-xx," where "xx" is a 2 letter abbreviation for other languages. Before, Glass apps only had a single, English "values" folder, but now I'm seeing apps with the usual swath of additional
"values-xx" folders. The follow have been updated:

  • GlassHome
  • GlassCamera
  • GlassDeviceAdministration
  • GlassHangouts
  • GlassLogging
  • GlassPhone
  • GlassSettings
  • GlassSetup
  • GlassSound
  • GlassUpdate

So it looks like we're only missing GlassMaps and GlassBluetooth. The normal Android packages that have had their localization folders removed haven't had them reinstated, but I don't think any of them are ever actually used, anyway.

That's all I could find in this update. Like I said earlier though, Glass is really messy, so don't let this discourage you from taking a peak yourself.

Ron Amadeo
Ron loves everything related to technology, design, and Google. He always wants to talk about "the big picture" and what's next for Android, and he's not afraid to get knee-deep in an APK for some details. Expect a good eye for detail, lots of research, and some lamenting about how something isn't designed well enough.
  • Sorian

    There was a brief talk about Glass working with Evernote at SXSW, maybe the Take a note is part of that.

  • PhilNelwyn

    Does Glass only work with precise commands, or does it support some kind of natural language?

    [Oh, and the new Google-inspired look of the mobile site is great.]

  • http://twitter.com/HandNF NF

    Ron, you are very impressive.


    Probably the patterns needed for matching audio input when offline/on slow networks. I have a feeling if we were to dissect the offline voice recognition in Jelly Bean, we would find something similar.