You've seen the breathless coverage. You've read Google's hyperbolic marketing. You've seen countless demonstrations of why Google Glass is the future. And if you live in the United States, you can finally get one without jumping through limited access hoops or begging for an invite, if only for one day. Google's Glass Explorer program is open to US residents 18 and older from right now (9 AM Eastern, 6AM Pacific) until the end of the day on April 15th.
If you've been anxiously awaiting your opportunity to get your very own Google Glass, and somehow you've missed every other invite or code giveaway, your time is coming up in just a few days. The Glass team has confirmed documents leaked to The Verge that indicate Google will be giving a one-day pass to all residents of the United States to join the Explorer Program and purchase their very own head-mounted unit.
The Google Glass team knows that if you're thinking about mounting a computer on your face, you should do it with some style. Today, Google and the Luxottica Group announced a partnership that will see the two companies working together to design stylish and comfortable frames to pair with Google Glass. This follows the the Glass team's own Titanium line of frames launched back in January.
The Luxottica Group owns, manufactures, and distributes famous brands such as Oakley, Ray-Ban, and Persol.
Droiders is an app-developing startup, and today it's launching MedicAR, a piece of Glassware that uses augmented reality to assist students studying to become surgeons. It guides them through certain procedures, showing them where to cut, what tools to use, what to do next, and how to close things back up afterwards. The video below shows it in action, and don't worry, it's not graphic.
After the rollout of XE12 in mid-December and the announcement that January would not bring an update, Glass Explorers have been anxiously awaiting the release of XE14, originally due in February. As it turns out, they were to be disappointed. In a posting to the private Glass Community forum late yesterday, Teresa Z explained that XE14 had missed its February deadline. The reason: it simply wasn't ready to be released. Unfortunately, no details were given with regard to the timeline for the next update.
As a Glass Explorer, I'm always excited to see new apps, especially if they improve Glass' user experience. Developer Matthew Pierce delivered one such app recently, making Glass Master Control available to the public via Dropbox.
Essentially, Master Control allows users to change Glass settings in a new, more fine-grained way. It controls volume, brightness, and radios (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and AutoSync). Until now, Glass hasn't had manual brightness controls, and volume control was buried in a settings card at the very left end of the timeline.
Questions about Google Glass and conventional prescription glasses have been flying since the project was announced, but Google finally seem ready to initiate a program to make the two come into conjunction. The Glass team announced frames for prescription lenses and sunglasses for Glass on Google+, along with a glitzy video. The titanium glasses frames will be put up for order exclusively to Glass Explorers later today.
Unfortunately, the solution that Google has presented isn't one size fits all - you'll have to choose from a selection of four standard frames (Split, Thin, Bold, Curve) and order lenses to fit.
Since its introduction, Google Glass has been in the unfortunate position of having relatively limited functionality. However, with a steady stream of updates and eventually the emergence of the Glassware tab in the MyGlass interface, we've known the elusive wearable was due for some more exciting things. A few weeks after announcing plans to add Play Music to Glass, Google has quietly added it to the list of apps supported on the elusive wearable.
Google has released an early version of the Glass Development Kit, opening the doors for leagues of new developers to create software for the company's advanced pair of glasses. This is only a sneak peak that's subject to change at any time, but developers can already download it now and start creating apps for Glass right away. It's available directly within the Android SDK Manager.
Developers need to own a pair of Glass in order to test what they produce, as an emulator isn't included.
It seems like if you're willing to strap a computer to your face, you should at least be able to listen to music with it. However, that isn't an option with Google Glass, but it will be in just a few short weeks. Google has announced that Glass Explorers will soon have the option to stream tunes from Google Play Music on Glass. There will also be new Glass stereo earbuds available for a proper listening experience.