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Google Glass expanded beta test available in US (0)

If you reside in the United States and you have $1,500 to spare, you can now avail a Google Glass. In an article posted on Google's official blog, the device is currently in expanded beta test mode. The announcement comes after selling the wearable computer for just one day last month. It was selling like hot cakes, Google almost ran out of stock and has since built its inventory for its expanded beta test, with an aim to beef up its Explorers program. The company also said a consumer version of the device is expected to be shipped later this year. Google started its Explorers program along with its Glass launch about two years ago, which aims to gather data and reactions from early adopters of the device so Google would be able to refine and improve on both hardware and software. Buyers would also be able to choose their color, earbud type, and frame style (including an option for people wearing prescription glasses). Source: CNN Money Read More

Google Classroom offers assignment hub (0)

Google has launched a program for students and teachers. Available on Google Apps for Education, the Google Classroom provides school teachers and students with a central hub to create, store, organize, and provide feedback for assignments. Currently on beta, the service is available in select schools in the United States. This would allow teachers to create and collect "paperless" assignments, ask questions and comment with students in real time, and create Drive folders for each assignment and each student. Teachers can even keeps tabs on which student has yet to complete their assignment. Aside from assignments, teachers and professors can also distribute projects, worksheets, and group work among others to students. School mentors interested to try out the service can apply for a preview, but we recommend waiting it out until September when Google Classroom will be available to any school using Google Apps for Education. Source: Forbes Read More

Google Maps update includes Uber integration (0)

Google has announced its Google Maps will be beefed up with new features, including offline support and integrating it with other apps like Uber. With other major tech players like Microsoft and Apple offering mobile mapping services, Google believes the latest features in its Google Maps could edge out the competition. The offline mode enables users to save routes and locations so they would be able to access it even without WiFi or a decent cellular signal. Offline maps can be found under profiles. Users can now also search bars and restaurants according to filters such as opening hours, price, and user ratings. Meanwhile, Uber app users can also integrate it with Google Maps and find out if hitching a ride would be more convenient than public transportation or walking home. The Uber app can also be activated straight from Google Maps. Other new features include displaying which lane to stay in to avoid missing the highway exit, as well as integrating Street View on place cards. Source: ZDNet Read More

Patent for camera-equipped Google contact lenses filed (0)

Google plans to take wearable device to the next level, even when its Glass has yet to become wide available in the market. The tech giant has filed a patent application to the USPTO to embed tiny cameras in contact lenses. These Google contact lenses are aimed for various uses, such as providing basic input for a contact-based assistive device for people with visual impairment. Also, as what many Google Glass haters may have thought, these contact lenses can capture images of what the wearer sees. This follows Google's previous patent application of developing "smart contact lenses" that would monitor the wearer's blood sugar levels, providing a non-invasive method of measuring it among diabetics. There is a possibility that both patents would be combined for future Google contact lenses. If the company is bent on shipping these lenses soon, Google needs to tackle the growing negative perception among wearable devices that can take images of people without their knowledge. This feature has been a cause of disdain towards wearers of Google Glass, wherein a journalist was recently attacked in San Francisco. We should note that many tech companies patent hundreds--even thousands--of patents over time, but only a fraction of which are manufactured and even a handful of them would be shipped. Source: TechCrunch Read More

Google launches first Project Ara conference (0)

Google has formally announced its Project Ara, which aims to develop modular smartphones that consumers can assemble from individual parts, through a developer conference held Tuesday. In Google's ideal world, hardware modules like flat blocks for camera or blood-sugar monitor would be available in an "app store" of sorts, much like its own Google Play for software apps. These modules would be fitted into a metal phone endoskeleton, which the company calls Project Ara, and they are held together by magnets. Each module performs a particular task. One block works as the phone's antenna, another one would be the device's battery or camera or fitness monitor. Google would develop the design of the Project Ara endoskeleton, while third-party developers would design the modules. Google plans to offer entry-level modular phones, which contain the most basic of functions, that would cost about $50 to manufacture. The tech company is also developing an online marketplace that offer additional modules, so consumers can modify their phones with new functionalities from monitoring the user's heartbeat to lighting his cigarette. Source: The Wall Street Journal Read More

Google allows U.S. residents become Glass Explorers (0)

Google has yet to launch its Glass to general consumers, but it is taking a giant step towards mass production. The tech company opens the Glass Explorer program to everyone in the United States beginning April 15, as long as they can shell out $1,500 (plus taxes). Google will even ship them in their favorite shade or prescription frame. The program is only available to a limited number of spots, so it is best to buy them early beginning 6:00 a.m. PT on Tuesday (9:00 a.m. ET). For those living outside the United States, Google would glady take your $1,500, but it is "not ready to bring Glass to other countries" as of this posting. Expanding the Explorer pool apart from the first batch of beta testers (before sending invites to their friends and family) could halt the negative perception surrounsing Glass Explorers, who have received unflattering nicknames like "Glassholes." Source: TechCrunch Read More

Google reportedly updating Android camera app (0)

Google is reportedly working on a completely new, completely improved camera app for Android mobile devices. According to Engadget, the tech company will overhaul the UI, allowing users to selectively defocus the background on portrait shots, as well as improved Panorama and Photo Sphere features. The update will arrive through a standalone update to Android's camera app. It will also provide support for third-party filters, enabling developers to create customized effects that users can download for their own camera app. The alleged new features are said to resemble Nokia's Refocus app, as well as HTC's camera features for their One smartphone, which includes creating custom filters. Source: TechCrunch Read More

Google Glass to come with Ray-Ban and Oakley versions (0)

Google has announced it has forged a partnership with Luxottica, which markets Ray-Ban and Oakley eyewear, for more fashionable versions of Google Glass. The luxury company will collaborate with Google in incorporating the head-mounted device with its well-known brands. Using two high-end brands with completely different aesthetics shows that Google wants to make Google Glass accessible to a more general audience. Ray-Ban is an American classic that still adheres to its decades-old styles, while Oakley is known for its futuristic designs. The announcement comes after Google revealed a prescription-lens version of the wearable device, fueling speculations that the tech company plans on offering fashionable frames for Glass. Availability of these luxury editions of Google Glass is not yet finalized, although a statement on Glass' official blog suggests it may be sold in Luxottica's retail and wholesale distribution channels. As for the cost, the integration with Ray-Ban and Oakley would likely make the $1,500 gadget even more expensive. (That is, if Glass will ever be released in the market.) Source: Mashable Read More

Is Moto 360 the “Google Glass killer”? (0)

With the introduction of the Moto 360 smartwatch, Google may have signed an obituary for its Google Glass before it even becomes available to the general public. Writing for Mashable, former Google Glass Explorer and self-described "tech enthusiast" Peter McDermott says that may be the case. While the idea behind Google Glass--enabling to access information instantly through a display at the corner of your eye, without having to constantly bringing out your phone--is promising, actual usage of the Glass shows a different story. McDermott lists down several issues facing Google Glass: Relatively short battery life - While Google Glass lasts up to 8 hours in casual use, that is not the case once you turn on the video camera, wherein the device would last for up to 30 minutes if you record continuously. Worries regarding security issues - Google may insist all those criticisms at how Google Glass compromises security are unfounded, but a few tweaks from a knowledgeable individual could make Google Glass gather personal information from the people around the user including credit card numbers. The lack of social acceptance - The tech giant calls out Google Glass critics for being so concerned about privacy when they have mobile devices that have potential security risks. But add the news about the "largest government surveillance scandal in recorded history," people will remain uncomfortable seeing one guy with a tiny camera attached to his face. "Moto 360 won't have these problems," McDermott wrote. "First of all, it's on my wrist, so it's much less conspicuous than a face-mounted computer. This definitely helps us in the social acceptance arena, and makes it a wearable than I'm comfortable wearing everywhere (except maybe not the shower)." The blogger also gives praises on Moto 360's potential in hosting better apps that work in multiple wearable devices, as well as the added sex appeal to people who treat their watches like jewelry. It is even a safer way of using a wearable device, without having to face the risk of getting mugged in a bar, get a traffic ticket for operating a mobile device while driving, or get questioned by a FBI agent in a cinema over allegations of movie piracy. "Now that I’ve seen Moto 360, I see some elements of Glass that I love that will fit much better into my daily life," McDermott wrote. Mashable Read More

Google tries to debunk Google Glass myths (0)

In an attempt to temper down the criticisms surrounding its Google Glass, the "don't be evil" company has published a list of 10 Google Glass myths Google tries to prove untrue. However, its obviously defensive tone and the way they flatter themselves seem to create more questions (and possibly hate). Myth 1 - Glass is the ultimate distraction from the real world - Google contends that Google Glass makes you experience, and record, life as it happens instead of looking down to your mobile devices. "Big moments in life -- concerts, your kid’s performances, an amazing view -- shouldn’t be experienced through the screen you’re trying to capture them on." While that can be true, Google glossed over the actual reason why it is called an "ultimate distraction" in the first place: driving. A Google Glass Explorer, a beta tester who paid $1,500 just to try out the device, was cited by the California Highway Patrol for allegedly operating her Glass while driving. That charge has since been dismissed after the judge said there is not enough evidence to determine whether the arrested Explorer's Glass was turned on at the time. (Glass does not have a LED indicator that it is turned on, while Google claims the wearer has to look up to view the Glass display.) Myth 6 - Glass covers your eye(s) - In a very defensive tone, Google states: "Before jumping to conclusions about Glass, have you actually tried it?" While the device's screen is designed to sit above the right eye, there have been instances when the screen is placed on the upper half of the eye. This is coming from Explorers who have tried the Glass. Myth 9 - Glass is banned... EVERYWHERE - Another exaggerated Google Glass myth. Some establishments have imposed a ban on Google Glass to prevent wearers from secretly recording video. Meanwhile, a number of states are considering banning the device from being used while driving, much like cell phones. So it's not really EVERYWHERE. Google even says: "Just bear in mind, would-be banners: Glass can be attached to prescription lenses, so requiring Glass to be turned off is probably a lot safer than insisting people stumble about blindly in a locker room." One guy did exactly that, fitting the Glass on his prescription lenses, walked to a cinema and ended up being questioned by FBI. The wearer insisted the Glass was turned off, but the FBI agent was not convinced until the Glass was hooked up to a laptop and had all images downloaded. Myth 10 - Glass marks the end of privacy - Google cited how people went paranoid over the "end of privacy" when cameras became available in the market in the late 19th Century, adding that there will be more cameras in 10 years. Matt Peckham of Time magazine says it best: "Is it really enough to wave off privacy concerns by looking backwards? Is the widespread adoption of something validation enough? Plenty would disagree. You could argue (and in fact many have), for instance, that pervasive camera networks like Britain’s unprecedented CCTV system are Orwell’s future dystopia by any other name." "Google Glass might not be 'the ultimate distraction,' but just like cellphones, it could be if used improperly, and who’s going to enforce its proper use? It might not be on and recording all the time today, but what about more powerful future versions down the road? It doesn’t do facial recognition at Google’s behest, but what about tomorrow? And for all Google’s assurances about curating its application store to control what people can do, what happens when people start jailbreaking these things?" Read More

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