Date: Friday, December 20th, 2013, 09:49
Category: Android, Apps, Developer, Gadget, Google, iOS, iPhone, News, Review, Software, Software, The Apple Core, Wearables
You might have caught some stories about the long awaited MyGlass app appearing on the AppStore, and then quickly disappearing leaving iPhone users crying, “nooooooooooooo!”. Well, they can relax, Google re-released the app and it’s available for download. About a week ago, I had the opportunity to play with a Google Glass without having to shell out $1500. As it happens, someone I knew had one and was willing to ship it out to me to play with (that “someone” being Jason O’Grady from The Apple Core). My full review will be available soon, so I’ll skip over a lot of Glass details to focus on the app and what it adds to the Glass-iOS experience.
By the way, the reason the MyGlass app was yanked was apparently because they jumped the gun a bit. A firmware update for Glass, labeled XE12, was supposed to go out beforehand since it was critical for iOS connectivity, so Google pulled the app until the software update was ready. In addition to iOS compatibility, the update adds a few features to the Glass experience. Among the additions;
- Screen lock
- Wink to take picture (requires updated hardware)
- YouTube video sharing
- Improved Hangouts functionality
- New commands (“how far is…” and “how many calories in…”)
- Removal of Guest mode
As you can well imagine, Android users have had their own MyGlass app for some time now with some iPhone users switching to
the dark side Android in order to get the full experience. Now, with the exception of a couple of features, iOS has now caught up. Most notably absent is iMessage and texting support, but this is reported to be due to restrictions Apple has placed on those controls for third-party apps. Google recommends using Hangouts as a ‘better than nothing’ solution.
The MyGlass app is actually pretty simple with 6 functions, most which take the place of the web interface which is what I used to set up the Glass originally. The first screen, “Device”, provides info about your Glass, kind of like the About This Mac function. The info included is the name of your Glass, software version, wifi connection status, current location of the Glass (complete with map), and a button to “Add Wifi Network”. The next screen is where you can manage your contacts, which strangely are not automatically pulled from your Google account, you have to add each one to Glass. Here you can also specify which phone number or email address that Glass will use when sending or sharing items. The third screen is “Active Glassware” (installed apps) that are on your Glass, and the fourth, a complete list of all available apps that you can install called “Glassware Gallery”. Next is “Screencast”, which was the coolest of the features in my opinion. This feature allows you to mirror what is on your Glass screen to your iPhone’s screen. In case you were wondering how I got those screenshots, that is how. Last is the “Help” screen which offers several videos showing how to use Glass’s features and a link to show a list of text-based tutorials. The videos are also available on the Glass web site.
One thing I was disappointed to learn is that unlike the method the Pebble uses, the only way to get connected to the internet is through the iPhone’s wifi hotspot feature. Even though it is connected to the iPhone using Bluetooth, the Glass still needs to connect to the iPhone’s ad-hoc wifi network for access. The Pebble, on the other hand, can utilize the phone’s cellular connection via its own app. This was a problem for me since iPhone users that are grandfathered into AT&T’s Unlimited plan are not allowed to use the hotspot feature. Still, it’s a huge improvement, and we can hope that now the app is out on both platforms, Google will try to keep them updated simultaneously.