With so much new information surrounding Google Glass, we have completely updated this 'what you need to know' feature. Enjoy!
Many of us spend a significant portion of our day glued to our smartphones, or to other connected devices. Reading social media or checking out the weather or otherwise dipping into the wealth of data at our disposal will typically consume all of our attention, making it hard to do anything else.
Google Glass might offer a solution to this problem, giving us a way of using the outboard brain of the internet while still being able to do other things. Glass was created, according to Google, to "be there when you need it and get out of your way when you don't."
The first Glass units have been with early adopters (who had to sign up to a lottery for the privilege) since April and Google is using this semi-public testing period to fine tune the device for general consumption, as well as get the world used to the idea of wearables.
Google Glass features
Essentially, Google Glass is a wearable Android-powered computer built into spectacle frames so that you can perch a display in your field of vision, film, take pictures, search and translate on the go as well as run specially-designed apps.
Google Glass uses a miniature display to put data in front (or at least, to the upper right) of your vision courtesy of a prism screen. This is designed to be easily seen without obstructing your view.
Glass responds to voice commands as well as taps and gestures on the touch-sensitive bar that runs along the side of the frame. You can start a search with "Ok Glass.." and take a photo or launch an app with a command phrase or a tap of your finger. Glass can also be paired with a phone using the My Glass app to allow quick fiddling with settings and customisation.
Google Glass runs a version of Android, so developers can easily create apps that take advantage of its unique display and input methods. Developers using Google's Mirror API, which makes it possible for apps to speak directly with a Glass headset, are forbidden from charging for their software or embedding ads in the Glass display. Google has indicated that this policy may change however.
The early Google Glass apps provide a neat glimpse into the potential of the headset.
You'll be able to use Google Maps to get directions although as there is no built in GPS receiver you'll need to tether Glass to your smartphone. Several third party developers have announced apps for services including Evernote, Skitch and Path.
The New York Times has also demoed an app that will pop up news headlines on request and JetBlue has suggested that it could create an app to show how much time was left before you had to board your flight. One developer even created an app (since removed by Google) to allow surreptitious taking of photos simply by blinking when you have something good in your sights.
Google has snapped up voice specialists DNNresearch whose voice recognition tech could give Glass the ability to translate words being spoken to you into your own language on the display. Obviously you'll need a WiFi connection or a hefty data plan if you're in another country, but it's certainly a neat trick if it works.
Google Glass design
Glass is designed to be lightweight and as unobtrusive as possible. The frame will come with adjustable pads for comfort, and is expected to be both light and extremely robust. It will also have a touchpad along one arm for silent interaction.