It’s been a while since we last heard of a software update for Glass and now I guess we know why. The team over at Mountain View has been busy updating the face-computer to run on the latest version of Android (4.4.2 a.k.a. KitKat).
It sounds like it won’t be a very obvious change, but Google claims the upgrade will give Glass better battery life (which is very sorely needed), stability improvements, as well as make it easier for developers to write apps for it.
Also contained in this update: Photo Bundles. Right now, if you want to find a photo you took last week, you have to swipe backwards through every single shot you took for the last seven days. Bundles will group photos together by day, which will make for much less swiping.
You’ll also now be able to send photos as a reply to messages in Hangouts, and the ever-growing list of voice commands will be sorted in the order of frequency and recency. One of the surprises is that Google is taking video calling out. Here’s Google’s quote on its reasoning:
We hold ourselves to high standards for the features that we build, and video calls aren’t living up to these standards. Explorers have told us so directly, and fewer than 10% of them use video calls. For this reason, we’ve made the hard decision to remove video calls from Glass until the experience is better. We don’t know when that will be, but in the meantime, keep an eye on MyGlass as more Glassware is built and released — we’re already seeing the developer community work on other video streaming services. We’ve always said that feedback from Explorers shapes Glass, and this is no exception.
This is a bummer in my book. I didn’t use the feature often, but I once make a video call while mountain biking down some difficult terrain, and that was one of my favourite things that happened during the whole time I used Glass.
Google says there’s a lot more in this update than it could fit into this short announcement. We’ll be playing with it and will update if we see anything cool. [Google]