Google Glass hasn't exactly set the world on fire, but it wasn't meant to. It and other projects under the "Google X" team were designed to be experimental, and we're still months away from seeing it hit a retail market at the very least. Even so, the news that one of the original architects of Glass is leaving for the distant shores (if not the greener pastures) of Amazon is a little disheartening.
Google has made small tweaks to Glass throughout the Explorer program, but today the company has announced a real spec bump. All Glass units shipping from now on will have 2GB of RAM instead of 1GB. There will also be a new viewfinder mode when taking pictures and some more cards. It's not all sunshine and lollipops, though. Current Glass Explorers should take a deep breath – Google won't be swapping out the old version for the new one.
Admit it, Glass owners, half the reason you're going to Google I/O is that you want to chat with other Glass people about how cool Glass is (hashtag throughglass). Google has given you plenty to chat about: they've just thrown a dozen new apps into the Glassware gallery, all of them from notable sources. Probably the most interesting is Livestream, the official app for Livestream.com, which was previously available as a side-load install.
Glass Explorers have faced an unyielding torrent of discrimination from their clear-faced peers ever since Google first introduced the device to its first batch of eager early adopters. Wearers have been banned from certain restaurants and public areas, with people expressing concern over the ease with which Glass allows people to record others. With such a glaring civil rights issue taking place in modern day America, The Daily Show sent correspondent Jason Jones to investigate for its June 12th episode.
Ever since the unexpected delay between XE12 and XE16, the Glass team has been in a near rapid-fire mode with the OTAs. There were a staggering 5 updates of XE16 in the month of April (6 if you count the 2-parter with XE 12.1) and 3 official versions of XE17 during the month of May. As it turns out, there may be a fourth, unreleased May update to Google's experimental wearable.
After holding a one day sale, running out of inventory, and accidentally leaving the store open, the team behind Google Glass promised to find more ways to expand the Explorer Program to those who wanted in.
This evening, Google Glass announced - through Google+ - that Glass is now available to everyone in the US, "as long as we have it on hand."
The Google Glass team hasn't taken a break since pushing out XE16 - there have been four updates so far, and according to Glass team member Kiley, there's another on the way: XE17.1.
Accompanying the new firmware update, explorers can expect a refreshed MyGlass app. The app will come with a new, more organized design and a new launcher icon.
Explorers should also expect XE17.1 to add the ability to share maps directly from an Android device.
Minuum shrinks all the letters of a keyboard down into a single row of text. This is potentially convenient for smartphones, but the learning curve alone is enough to push some users back to alternative options. Yet for smaller devices where a full-size keyboard is downright unwieldy, Minuum is uniquely situated to step in and scratch that itch. The app has now come to Google Glass, but unfortunately, this looks like one of those itches you don't want to scratch in public.
The big XE16 Google Glass update hit two weeks ago, but as we saw in our teardown, some of the included features were not turned on yet. That is set to change sometime this week. The Glass team has shared a number of features to be on the lookout for, with the first of which being a change to how the glasses handle automatically backing up photos and videos to the web.