Google Glass update brings apps like YouTube, Weather Alert into frame

There's more to Google Glass than meets the binocular eye, as the search engine giant has updated its wearable computer with five handy apps just in time for the holidays.

The most useful is "Upload to YouTube," which gives Glass Explorers the ability to directly upload videos to Google's video-sharing website.

YouTube videos via Google Glass can be shared publicly, privately or as unlisted with a setting that requires one tap on the touchpad.

Previously, videos could be shared with the less popular Google+. This should make some new YouTube stars out of their #throughglass posts.

Google Glass Weather app

Another handy app is called "Weather Alert." Even though the forecast is easy to check with one slide back on the touchpad, this app pushes severe weather notifications to users.

It can ping them with 120 customizable alerts from air quality to tornado warnings, Google explained through its Google Glass Google+ account.

All of this may be especially convenient when Explorers go home for the holidays and want a heads-up on meteorological conditions before they pack for the trip.

WSJ and Winkfeed for news

The Wall Street Journal is also part of this Google Glass update, giving everyone an alternative to being constantly pinged with CNN news alerts.

Winkfeed, not to be confused with the Wink picture-taking app from yesterday, lets users view and save RSS feed stories.

Hangouts joins the conversation

Google's Hangouts chat program has made big strides ever since it replaced Google Talk earlier this year and now it has reached Glass.

This app lets Explorers send and receive messages and photos and make video calls. Google noted that this includes the often-requested group messaging feature.

With more beta invites going out these days, Google Glass group messaging may actually be kind of useful.

These new apps follow the release of XE12 Glass update on December 17, which brought the MyGlass app for iOS, a wink control to take a picture and an eyeful of other improvements.

Matt Swider