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Google Glass mysteries revealed!

Mike Elgan | April 22, 2013
Google made a long list of announcements and revelations about its cyborg eyewear Glass. Google is taking a very conservative, controlling approach to the platform, not unlike another Apple's style.

The right side of the Google Glass hardware is a touchpad, which enables users to control the device by tapping or swiping.

Glass connects to the Internet and any Bluetooth-capable phone via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The battery should enable a day of moderate use on each charge, according to Google. However, using the video feature drains the battery much faster. One user estimated that a video recording of less than seven minutes drained about 20% of the battery power.

The camera takes 5-megapixel pictures and 720p video.

Glass comes with a Micro USB cable and a charger.

It comes in five colors: Charcoal, Tangerine, Shale, Cotton and Sky.

The software

Glass runs Android, according to an earnings-call comment by Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page this week, although almost certainly a custom version of Android rather than the same version that runs on smartphones. In other words, Android smartphone apps won't run on Glass, and (presumably) Glass apps won't run on Android smartphones.

Glass comes with an Android-only app called MyGlass, which among other things enables SMS and GPS messaging. MyGlass for other phone platforms could come later.

An analysis of MyGlass reveals multi-player game support, although it's possible that it's there for Android in general rather than Glass in particular.

Developers can create apps, which Google calls "Glassware," using Java or Python plus what's called the "Google Mirror API," and a set of services called "RESTful" for conveying messages to and from the Glass devices.

How it works

The Google Glass user interface is based on "cards" -- discreet chunks of information similar to cards on Google Now -- and these exist in a timeline, which users can navigate via a swiping gesture on the touchpad.

"Cards" are created by developers who write software for Glass and are pushed to Glass via the apps they build and which users can "install." Cards can stay in place in the timeline, or can be "pinned" by the user so they remain accessible as time goes by.

In addiction to information, the cards can offer simple user interaction and can be shared between Glass users.

Users can capture pictures and video through the camera with voice commands or by tapping the touchpad. (

Users initiate voice commands by saying "OK, Glass," which "wakes up" the device and prompts it to accept voice input.

By saying "take a picture," "get directions to" or "make a call to" users can command Glass to function in these limited ways. Voice commands can also enable users to Start a Google+ hangout, use Google Now, search the Internet, translate language, get the weather and find out flight information.


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