Whatever happened to Google Glass?

google glass broadcasting

In 2012 Google Glass launched and like everyone else in the tech world we were glued to social media networks and online mentions of the technology. Wearable tech has always been a thing but Glass seemed to make it so real that everyone was going to have one.

The wearable tech scene and industry probably warrants an entire blog in itself and in our quest to cover all things gadget we hunted high and low trying to test out a pair or have someone lend us one for a while.

It didn’t turn out that way and while we bought into the hype like everyone else it was quickly scuttled by Google and just like that the party was over.

Google Glasses
Credit: Google

This New York Times article from 2015 outlines Glass’ rise and abrupt cancellation. It did however make history and probably inspired many companies I think, ahem Apple, to see what they could do in the wearable tech space. The Apple Watch springs to mind and while I have not used one seems to be doing fairly well for Apple and consumers.

It’s interesting to note that with tech hype and that kind of huge marketing generated by such products seem also built into its DNA. There is good reason for that but as many of us found using the actual product was quite different.

I had the chance to try it once and I thought it was so so. I mean how could it live up to what I had seen online or as a huge consumer of science fiction movies and novels imagined that it might be. It didn’t. In fact it made me more weary of wearable tech and less likely to buy any such products for at least five years.

There is also a danger here for wearable tech users and producers here too in that marketing and hype don’t always match expectations when using a product. We are a long way away from wearable tech that will be small lightweight and as powerful as we think it should be. Many scientists, developers and engineers will also tell us that the future is bright with this kind of technology nicely placed in our back pockets. The reality however is somewhat different.

Advertisements

Google’s Pixel Phone puts a new twist on the smartphone game

pixelmain

pixelsmallThe iPhone 7 launch and the Note 7 battery issue has put the smartphone wars at an interesting point.

Samsung is sure to reel from loss of the Note7 for a while and with the Pixel phone from Google just launched, Android lovers may have found themselves a great new phone to get.

With its camera that rivals the iPhone 7 Plus, the Pixel is elegantly designed and Google’s Assistant has a an approach to answering your voice much like Siri does.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are the two models.  Assembled by HTC, the phones were designed, engineered and branded by Google. Telus has them listed at 200 on a 90 dollar a month plan and 400$ on an 80 dollar a month plan on their website. Be sure and check with your wireless carrier.

The camera is a 12.3 megapixel on the back and the front-facing camera is excellent, too. It has a wide enough lens to fit a lot of content in each frame. The camera can shoot 4K video as well.

The camera is really key here as that is often a major selling point for more users when buying or upgrading their phone. LG tried some innovative camera ideas with its G5 and modular components. For a great comparison of the 7Plus Camera and the Pixel, check out this article from CNET.

The Pixel is deeply integrated with Google’s search services as well as the Google Assistant. Assistant uses machine learning and Google’s vast search database to answer all kinds of questions. This is a very cool feature of the phone. I have never loved Siri and the thought of access to Google’s search database is a feature a lot of phones could use.

The Pixel like all premium smartphones these days has a fingerprint reader for added user security and Android Pay. It works quickly and as a bonus you can use it to slide down notifications on the screen.

The Pixel and Pixel XL are nearly identical, but the latter has a bigger, sharper display and a bumped-up battery. Other than that, they’re pretty much the same. Full marks to Google for putting the Pixel together. It will be interesting to see how it sells as we approach Black Friday and Christmas.

Motorola Moto X: OK Google Now!

Motorola Moto X

At first using the Motorola Moto X didn’t seem much different than any other Android device but when I drilled deeper into the functionality I was pleasantly surprised. On the device I set up my default services including Gmail (Google Account) and Twitter.

As with other Android devices I really like the notifications functionality compared to other smartphone vendors. The notifications are easy to find, read, and dismiss with a swipe of the finger. But one difference I noticed right away was the phone would “glow” with a Twitter icon occasionally. I found that if you pressed the icon more information would become available about the notification and you could even swipe into it to open the app directly.

According to the Motorola press release, this functionality is called Active Display, “Moto X is always ready to tell you what you need to know. Instead of an unhelpful blinking light, Moto X gives you useful info at a glance with Active Display, which appear right on screen.”

But the feature that really got me sold on the device was the voice command. After a quick voice training lesson all it took was saying “okay Google now… ” and the “open Twitter” for example. and it just did what I wanted. I actually found that the Google now voice command was more accurate and responsive than Apple’s Siri. Plus it was less prone to misinterpretation. I think Google has really hit the nail on the head with Google now.

Find smartphones at Amazon

Motorola Moto XAs for the smartphone design I found the Moto X nice to hold and I like the back which is a flat matte design and stuck to my hand nicely. Compared to other smartphones that have a smooth  surface on the back the matte surface makes sense and I felt the device was firmly in hand and not about to slip away.

Another thing I noticed right away about the Moto X was the absence of physical buttons on the face of the smartphone. There is a power button on the right hand side along with volume controls below that but for the most part buttons on the device face are of a virtual nature.

I also appreciated the fast camera access which came when I twisted my wrist a couple of times to activate. The Motorola press release sums it up nicely, “Moto X knows you need a camera, and it’s always ready to go. Just twist your wrist twice and it’s ready. Touch anywhere on the screen, and you’ll get the shot. All in just a few seconds. Continuous shooting capabilities, as well as a ten megapixel camera…” Being a photographer this is a feature I can truly appreciate as I know that if you’re not on top of the action its easy to miss a shot.

The Motorola Moto X ships with Android 4.2 (Jelly Bean) and overall is a hit with me. I wouldn’t  hesitate to recommend this smartphone if you’re in the market for an Android device.

Google unveils Nexus 7 which is available on July 30

Nexus 7
Nexus 7
(Credit: James Martin/CNET)

Google’s announced yesterday the launch of its new Nexus 7 tablet. Yep, it’s real, and is already available for preorder.

As expected, the new Nexus 7 is a 7-inch tablet running the Android 4.3 Jelly Bean operating system. The 16GB Wi-Fi-only version will be available for $229, with a 32GB Wi-Fi-only model coming for $269. A 32GB 4G LTE (unlocked) version will retail for $349.Among the key features are an HD screen (with 1,920×1,200-pixel resolution); front and rear cameras (1.2- and 5.0-megapixel, respectively); Bluetooth 4.0; a 1.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor; 2GB of RAM; NFC; and an Adreno 320 GPU (the same graphics chip used in the Samsung Galaxy S4). There’s also support for dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi and wireless charging using any Qi-compatible charger. The large top and bottom bezels from the first-generation Nexus 7 return.

The new Nexus 7 is the first device to support the latest version of OpenGL ES: 3.0. The new version includes support for higher-quality reflections and lens flares. Of course game developers will actually have to program these new features into games before you’ll see any notable difference. Hopefully, with support for the latest version of OpenGL, frame rates on the new Nexus 7 will be higher than on other devices using the same S4 processor, such as the Sony Xperia Tablet Z.It’s not a slow processor by any means, but in my testing, the S4 comes nowhere near Qualcomm’s own Snapdragon 800 or Nvidia’s Tegra 4 in raw performance.

Use Google Drive To Send Large Email Attachments

If you are an aficionado of cloud services, then the new Google Drive is right up your alley. Much like Dropbox.com and Box.com, Google Drive allows you to save and share files from a central location that you can access anywhere and anytime. Not only that, but your public files can be accessed by anyone you want.

What is the benefit of all this? Well, just imagine the cooperative possibilities. No more redoing work that you accidentally left on your work computer, no more crossover when you and your co-workers have a cooperative project to complete, and no more emailing yourself or others updated copies of documents.

Another benefit of saving documents and files on the cloud is the fact that you can save a lot. Dropbox.com allows up to 2 GB of room free and Box.com allows 5 GB. You can pay extra for more room, but that should be plenty to get you started.

Using online storage has another benefit. You never lose anything. Online, everything is backed up for a period of time, 30 days with Google Drive, and you can recover your files anytime during that period. You never have to work about losing your documents if your laptop or USB drive is lost or stolen. Everything is already in the box!

Google Drive offers a few additional things that Box.com and Dropbox.com do not. It is integrated with Gmail and Google+, allowing you to share and save documents instantly. It also works with Android to use apps, mobile or not, and allows you to view many types of files that you may not have the software for currently.

Online storage is the best way to keep your files safe, saved, and shareable. If you haven’t tried it out yet, check out Google Drive. I promise you’ll never go back to emailing files again.

Author Bio:

Kate Croston is a freelance writer, holds a bachelors degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. She writes guest posts for different sites and loves contributing   internet service related topics. Questions or comments can be sent to:  katecroston.croston09 @ gmail.com.