April 15h, 2014 meant a lot of things in the Google world. First was the opening day to register for Google I/O 2014. The applications are open from the April 15-18. Google I/O is the yearly conference held by Google in San Francisco. The second news update was Google allowed anyone to join the explorers program for one day. This does not mean that Glass is officially out, just allowed others to join the program without waiting for an invitation. Last but not least Google updated Glass to XE16! There are a lot of notes for this major update since XE12 back in December.
KitKat for Glass
Google Glass is now running on the latest version of Android KitKat. This is the foundation of XE16 update for Glass. Just like most new devices on the market, KitKat brings a lot to the table. Many software features behind the scene allow huge improvements to Glass. KitKat also brings a lot of new changes for developers using the GDK and a minor tweak with the Mirror API.
- Battery Life
- Makes way for future updates
- BLE – Bluetooth Low Energy
One of the biggest complaints by explorers in the community was how flooded our timeline becomes for those who take lots of photos, videos and vignettes. With this update, your Glass timeline will combine all your media taken by day and put it into a sub folder to free up space on your timeline.
Send a message with a photo
With the ability to send messages to your contacts, XE16 adds a little spice to your messages. Now while sending a message, if you press the camera button the background of your message will be changed to the photo taken. Feel free to say nothing and let the picture do its work.
Smarter Home menu sorting
A minor change but a pleasure to hear about is the new sorting of the menu item on Glass. Both voice menu and touch actions are now sorted by the choices you use most recently as well as the options used the most. If you enjoy taking pictures, “ok glass, take a picture” will be the first option on your menu.
Sharing to Google+ communities
Released 2/28/2014 This update to glass was sent to users prior to XE16 but Google has decided to add it to its release notes. Now users have the ability to share content with their contacts and Google+ Communities. Keep your communities updated with pictures or videos that you would like to share, instead of needed to do it via Google Plus.
Play Music Instant Mixes
If you enable Google Music from the Glassware tab in MyGlass and you have yet to subscribe to All-Access, you now have the ability to still listen to music via Instant Mixes. Instead to your playlists through the touch menu, now from your home screen you can swipe forward and begin to listen to music.
Easier Wifi setup with Android
With XE16, you now can easily connect your Glass to any WiFi network that your phone is connected to. Your networks are synched with your Google Account. This makes it very easy for you to connect to networks without the need of MyGlass page.
Lets admit it, Glass is not the most stable when it comes to connections to networks. Prior to XE16 you would be left in the dust wondering why you currently do not have a network connection. Now if you get stuck without a connection Glass will offer some more information about your current networking status and offer some tips to reconnect. Tap on the internet connectivity card and select More info.
Feedback Through Glass
Google truly listens to their users feedback when it comes to their products. Speaking with Glass Guides and discussions on the forums, explorers had a voice to change things about glass (as seen in XE12 and XE16). Google updated a feature in Glass that now allows users to send feedback to Google directly through Glass. Find the feedback card by tapping on the Device info card from the Settings bundle and being to share your thoughts.
A Goodbye For Now…
In XE16, Google decided to fall back on two features and take them off of Glass for now. These features are Video Calls and Song Search. Glass is always changing and with this release they felt that both features were not used as often and taken down to free up space on Glass. This does not mean that they will not return. Google may try to enhance these features or possibly wait for someone to make Glassware for these applications.
A small tweak for Screencast for glass has been added to XE16. Now if you begin to screencast through your mobile device, it will remind you to tap on your glass to begin casting what you see on Glass to others.
Changes to GDK and Mirror with XE16
As stated, Google Glass is now running on Android KitKat. This brings some changes to the GDK and Mirror for developing glassware. Find all the release-notes for XE16 here. (some images are from the XE16 release notes) By: Andrew Pritykin