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5 things you need to know about Google Glass

Al Sacco | May 30, 2013
Here are five things that anyone interested in Google Glass need to know.

Glass is still in its infancy, and the future of Glass apps largely depends on developers. But if interest at the 2013 I/O developer conference is any indication, Glass users should have access to a wide range of software, including ports of popular smartphone apps.

Voice Control is Key to Google Glass
A central idea behind Glass is to reduce the need to actually touch it to launch commands and thereby change the way people interact with electronics. As such, most of Google Now's features can be activated using voice control. The phrase "Okay Glass" serves as a trigger command to prepare the gadget for a command. So, for example, you could say "Okay, Glass, record a video" to initialize its video-recording feature. Or say, "Okay, Glass, Hangout with the CIO.com team," to launch a Google Hangout chat with the CIO editorial team - assuming we let you into our super-exclusive Google+ Circle.

Many smartphone users have been using their handhelds for so long that they don't really think about how many steps it actually takes to remove devices from their pockets, type in a password to unlock it, scroll to the application we want and then perform a task. Glass aims to reduce or eliminate the steps needed to perform common actions and keep users' hands free.

Glass is Not Just About Voice Control
Many Glass applications and services are designed to be controlled using voice, but the current version of Glass also has a touch-sensitive panel located on its side behind the camera lens and miniature display that runs along the right frame. Some Glass gestures are as follows: tap the touchpad to turn the display on; swipe forward or backward to navigate through your Glass "timeline;" with an item, option or menu selected, tap the touch pad to select the item or expand a menu; and you can swipe down on the touchpad while on the Home screen to turn the display off.

Glass can also be activated and deactivated using head movements. The Head Wake Up feature lets you tilt your head upward at a specified angle - you can change the angle in the Head Wake Up settings - to activate Glass and turn on your display. Another quick nod of the head at the appropriate angle turns the device off.

Some early applications suggest that Glass may even be able to perform certain tasks without voice commands, gestures or head tilts; the Winky app lets you take a picture with a wink of the eye.

Google Glass Is Not Really a Pair of Glasses...Yet
Google Glass looks like a pair of glasses. And it's obviously called "Glass." But it's not really a pair of glasses in the conventional sense; there are no glass lenses in the current Glass frames. But that could change in the future. Right now the purpose of the frames is to simply hold the Glass display and camera lens in a position that can be easily seen and that accurately simulates the wearer's view.

 

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