Google Glass KitKat update officially detailed [UPDATED]

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from  Omaha, NE
| April 14, 2014

Google Glass

Ahead of its limited time public Google Glass sale, Google has announced a major update for its Android-powered eyewear.

Google says that the latest Glass update will bump the wearable up to KitKat, the newest version of Android, and bring a number of improvements and other tweaks. Here’s a rundown of what to expect form the next Glass update:

  • KitKat: Brings improved battery life, makes Glass more reliable and easier to update and also allows developers to create apps using the latest Android software development kit.
  • Photo bundles: When scrolling through a timeline, photos, videos and vignettes from each day will be bundled together for less swiping.
  • Photo replies in Hangouts: Tap “Reply” and then take a photo to share it with a Hangouts chat partner, or just tap “Send” to use an existing image.
  • Sending feedback: Tap on device info card in Settings for option to send feedback to Google.
  • Voice command sorting: When you tap or say “Ok Glass,” voice commands will be sorted by recency and frequency to make it easier to access frequently-used commands.
  • Video calls: Video call support will be removed for now. Google says that video calls “aren’t living up to [its] standards” and that fewer than 10 percent of Glass Explorers use video calls.

Google says that the KitKat update for Glass will begin rolling out later this week. Overall this looks like a pretty significant update for Google’s headwear, and the best part is that it should begin hitting Glass units as soon as they begin arriving in the mailboxes of those folks that buy them tomorrow.

Does Google’s KitKat update for Glass make you more interested in buying its wearable device tomorrow?

UPDATE: Just 24 hours after Google officially announced the KitKat update for Glass, the new software has begun rolling out to Explorers. The update is software version XE16, though first you’ll receive a bump up to XE12.1 to prepare for the XE16 update.

Google has also posted the release notes for XE16. Here’s what you can expect to find once the dust settles and your new update is installed:

  • KitKat for Glass: Brings “behind the scenes” benefits, better battery life, improved reliability and preps Glass for future updates.
  • Photo Bundles: Browse photos, videos and vignettes by day rather than one at a time.
  • Send a message with a photo: Take a photo for sending or replying to a message in Hangouts.
  • Smarter Home menu sorting: Home menu voice and touch actions sorted by those that have been used recently and those that are used most frequently.
  • Sharing to Google+ communities: Share photos and videos with Google+ communities.
  • Play Music Instant Mixes: Users that aren’t Google Music All Access subscribers can access Instant Mixes in Google Music through the touch menu.
  • Easier Wi-Fi Setup with Android: Users that have backup enabled on Android devices will have their Wi-Fi networks synced between those devices and Glass.
  • Networking Help: If you find yourself without a network connection, Glass will share info related to your networking status and offer suggestions on how to reconnect.
  • Give Us Your Feedback Through Glass: Send feedback to Google by tapping the “Device info” card in Settings.
  • Video Calls: Removed for now because the feature wasn’t used often and “did not live up to [Google’s] high standards.”
  • Song Search: Removed because it “saw little usage.”

Via +GoogleGlass, Android Police, Google Glass XE16 release notes