The latest update to Google Glass will let users of the wearable computing device access their top 20 phone contacts with voice commands alone. The new contact feature also enables Glass "Explorers," as users are called, to swipe on their preferred means of communicating with contacts, whether that's via online hangouts, e-mail or text messaging.
Google Glass team member Joel K. announced the updates in a Wednesday blog post on Glass Journal, the Glass Explorers Community online forum.
Accessing personal contacts on Google Glass "just got way more convenient," he wrote, adding that Android users will be able to immediately access the new MyGlass app update. Users with iPhones will see the iOS version update "in the next week or so."
While we usually think about Google Glass as a consumer device, making contacts more easily accessible could help Glass become a more practical tool for business users as well. Consider for example, a real estate agent wanting to easily reach his or her active home buyers; or a field service rep needing to stay in close contact with a dispatcher, service engineer, main office or parts center.
Swipe To Text, E-Mail or Hangout
The updates are being made in response to comments from Google Glass users, according to the blog post.
"Explorers have been telling us that when they choose a contact from Glass they'd also like the option to choose how they message them," Joel K. wrote. "Now when you tap on one of your contacts, you can swipe between Hangouts, email or SMS -- whichever strikes your fancy at that moment."
In addition, the Google Contacts feature will now let Glass users access their 20 most recent and starred contacts by voice command alone. "The rest," Joel K. added, "are just a swipe away."
The updated MyGlass app also enables Explorers to sync their phone contacts with their Google Account. Once they've set up the sync feature, any additions or edits they make to their phone's address book will automatically be made to Glass as well.
Other updates include new settings for the head nudge control feature, a feature that displays coming concerts and other events in the user's area and an international currency converter.
Wearables Market Set To Triple
Users on the Glass Journal and on the Google Glass Google+ page generally welcomed the update with comments like, "Very nice," "Cool!" and "Awesome update!" A number of commenters also suggested additional improvements to the device, with several urging Google to next bring back a previous video chat/Hangout feature.
First made available for purchase by the general public earlier this year, the Google Glass wearable computing device starts at the retail price of $1,500. Users can customize the device with prescription lenses, shade lenses, different frame colors and earbuds. Glass features a small optical display that lets users browse the Internet and access a variety of apps, as well as a camera that can take photos and videos, and a side touchpad for navigating and controlling the device.
The worldwide market for such wearable computing devices, which also includes smart watches, is expected to grow rapidly over the next several years. Research from market analysis firm IDC this past April predicted that the global market would triple in 2014 to 19 million units sold, compared with last year, and would reach annual sales of nearly 112 million units by 2018.
Posted: 2014-08-22 @ 10:19pm PT
Very interesting article. I have yet to check out Google Glasses but this is a important step forward for getting them to be more main stream.