Skip to main content

Google Glass moves beyond photography: details on heads-up display emerge

Google Glass moves beyond photography: details on heads-up display emerge


A bit more information on Google Glass' functionality and its voice controls has been revealed.

Share this story


We've seen Google Glass trotted around more than a few times now on the faces of plenty of Google employees and even on a handful of models, but information on how the device functions and what its capabilities are beyond photography have been extremely difficult to come by. Today we're getting a precious few more details about voice commands and other functionality courtesy of The Wall Street Journal's Spencer Ante, who recently got a moment with a pair of the glasses and Sergey Brin.

"OK, Glass."

We've previously only had a few hints as to how Google Glass would be controlled, but Spencer Ante explains that he could say "OK, Glass" to open up a menu with options like making a phone call, record a video, take a picture, or use Google Maps. Ante also only had to say "take a photo" to photograph whatever he was looking at, and was notified by a icon in the heads-up display. No information is revealed regarding the patented touch controls that we've previously seen used by Sergey Brin, but it's clear that there are ways to use the device without shouting out at it.

"Take a photo."

A couple of other pieces of functionality were also revealed: as shown in the video below, Ante is placed into a virtual reality scene at one point, in which he is able to walk around a 360-degree panorama. Additionally, Sergey Brin talked about a time-lapse mode that he uses to take photos automatically while playing with his kids — allowing him to avoid any interruptions.

Ultimately, however, it sounds like Google Glass is as much of a prototype as you'd imagine. The hardware is still as solid and light as when our own Joshua Topolsky tried out a pair at Google I/O, but Ante describes the software as "balky." It turns out that key features like messaging notifications, phone calls, and Maps aren't functional yet. That's to be expected — Glass is from the Google X laboratory and is still being developed — but considering the slow trickle of information about how the glasses will work, we're starting to wonder just how very far the $1,500 Explorer Edition glasses will be from that original ambitious concept video when they ship early next year.