So far Google Glass has been released to a strictly limited list of people at the incredibly high price of $1,500, and it’s been given powers that are very far from revolutionary for the average Joe. But Google just updated the Glass OS to the XE8 version in its monthly upgrade, and this really gives us a clue as to how powerful the device will be when it’s released to the masses.
XE8 adds in many new features to Google Now, Google’s immediate-readiness advice and guidance app that’s also a feature on its Android smartphones and tablets. Glass Now can now remind users about restaurant reservations, hotel bookings, and concerts. Movie showtimes and info for nearby theaters will show up in the goggles, as will traffic alerts before you head off on a commute. Similarly, weather warnings can prepare you for the day ahead.
And then there’s a big boost to voice interactions with Glass, taking it far beyond the daft “OK Glass” and “take a photo”-type instructions we’ve seen so far: It’s now possible to hook up voice commands to third-party services. As an example the “take a note” command lets you do just that, on Evernote.
This isn’t the final version of Glass software, and Google has reportedly promised that more voice commands are coming soon. But this update really does give a strong hint that Glass is moving beyond the highly geeky implementations that it’s been used for so far, and will have significant usefulness for everyday consumers. The voice control options are likely to become very powerful indeed, and this is perhaps the ultimate embodiment of Google Now, because while the service is handy on a smartphone, you may miss an alert–that’s not going to happen if you’re wearing Glass.