Science

Secret Google Glass apps Google doesn't want you to know

By Michael Mayday , May 26, 2013 12:15 PM EDT
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It appears there's more than what meets the eye with the Google Glass, especially with its software.

Google's Glass hardware comes preloaded with some useful applications to begin with, but Google also hid some features deep within Glass. It's not readily available to new Glass owners, who had to pay $1,500 for the new device.

The experimental features, previously hidden on Google Glass, have been revealed by members of the Android hacking community. According to Android Police, the hack involves rooting the Glass and only a few simple lines of ADB commands to enable the features.

Among those features is a functional Chrome browser, the ability to view websites, access to Google's "Okay, Glass" voice commands anywhere in the Glass interface and a video stabilization mode. The features also include the controversial "wink to take a picture" ability.

The wink features allows users to silently take a photo by winking their right eye. The feature, according to Android Police, works perfectly after a brief calibration, and requires the user to make a very deliberate motion. The feature also works when the Glass operating system is off - letting users take photos without having to power their hardware on.

Google Glass also has a functional, though limited, website viewing option. Glass users can install the Chrome web browser on their device to open up a link. And, it sort of works. The problem is that when Chrome opens a link, it'll boot your Glass into the normal Android interface. After that, you'll quickly be booted back to the Glass interface. And, as Android Police's Ron Amadeo notes, it may not matter: Glass doesn't lend itself to web browsing - for now.

Video recording, too, has a hidden feature: video stabilization. The feature, in its infancy, should allow users to take more stable videos and negate the shaking from walking. But Amadeo reports the feature's video improvements are minimal a best, likely because video stabilization just isn't ready for use.

Then there's "Okay, Glass" everywhere. The feature allows Glass to listen you and respond to your voice wherever you go on Glass. Normally, users would have to swipe their way to the "Ok, Glass" screen.

It's unknown if Google will enable any of these features in the final version of Glass, but to some users they may prove to be some very useful functions - provided they have the wherewithal to activate them. Google is expected to release Glass sometime in 2014.

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