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11/7/2013
03:04 PM
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Google Glass Update Precedes New Hardware

Google Calendar access and directions to Maps locations is included in latest software update.

Google has released a software update for Glass, its wearable computing device, as it prepares to release the Glass Development Kit and to offer early adopters the opportunity to trade-in the first version of Glass for a revised model.

The software update, XE11, improves Google Calendar integration, navigation, screencasts and setup.

To facilitate searching for Google Calendar entries through Glass, users can now say, "Ok Glass, google my agenda" or "Ok Glass, google what I'm doing next week" to identify appointments and other plans. Calendar search requires use of Gmail and permission to search private content.

For those who get lost easily, the update adds the concept of "Home" and "Work" from Google Maps. Google users who have "Home" or "Work" locations set up through Google Maps or Google Now can now ask for directions to these locations.

[ Will the government collect this data? Read Apple Seeks Freedom To Disclose Gov Data Demands. ]

Creating a screencast to display what Glass users see on a mobile phone has been simplified with the addition of a screencast shortcut. By selecting the "Start screencast" option beneath the MyGlass notification screen in the notification drawer, Glass users can transmit the contents of their Glass screen to a nearby Android phone. Screencasting requires the MyGlass app, which is only available for Android devices at the moment.

Google has also added a tutorial to assist with the initial Glass tour and setup. Not all future Glass customers will receive the personalized installation walkthrough extended to the initial crop of Glass Explorers. Current Glass users can view the tutorial by initiating a factory reset, through the Device Info card.

Meanwhile, Google is preparing to release the long-awaited Glass Development Kit (GDK), which will allow developers to create Glassware using Android programming tools. The currently available Glass Mirror API provides a more limited form of access. On the 19th and 20th of November, Google will be holding a two-day hackathon to explore the GDK for select Glass developers in San Francisco, with similar events planned for New York and Los Angeles the following month.

An alternative JavaScript-based Glass development option, WearScript, was introduced last month.

In addition, Google said a week ago that it plans to offer improved Glass hardware to participants in its Glass Explorer program. The revised device will include an ear piece as a way to offer better audio than the bone-conduction technology used in first generation Glass units. The company said it will notify Explorers about the one-time trade-in opportunity in November.

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