Google Glass Gets New Features and Apps, Just in Time for Google I/O

Glass now gets 2GB of RAM, more Google Now cards and a slew of newly available apps that will run on Glass devices. The news comes just as the Google I/O 2014 developers conference gets under way.

Google Glass

New Google Glass units will include a solid performance upgrade as they are bumped up to 2GB of internal RAM, doubling the previous 1GB of RAM that has been built into Glass since their beta debut in April 2013.

The RAM upgrade is one of several improvements for Glass that were unveiled in a June 24 post on the Google Glass Google+ page, just as the hotly awaited Google I/O 2014 developers conference gets under way today in San Francisco.

Another key update is a new Glass "viewfinder," which will help users frame their photos more easily when using Glass, according to the post. "When you say 'ok glass, show the viewfinder' you'll see white L's in the four corners of your Glass screen. You can then either take a photo by saying 'ok glass, take a picture,' with a wink, or by pushing the camera button."

Also featured in new versions of Glass is the addition of several fresh Google Now cards, which will provide information on where users parked their car, plus alerts for when packages are heading their way after placing orders with businesses, according to the post. Google Now, which was introduced for Android devices by Google in June 2012, presents its information through a series of flip-through "cards" that are visible on the screen of a device, providing a different piece of information on each card. The "cards" appear at the moment they are needed by users, such as the train schedule card appearing when a user is heading to the local train station.

Users of Google Now set their own preferences for what information cards appear on their mobile devices. A wide variety of cards are available for Android users to receive instant updates about public transportation, flight information, traffic reports, sports scores, appointments, weather, hotels, events, restaurant reservations and more.

The updates are part of a regular schedule of improvements aimed at making Glass more powerful and useful, the post states. "The Explorer Program has been an exciting ride, and as a result of your feedback, we've picked up the pace on making more improvements. In the last year we've made over a dozen software [improvements] and several hardware updates. For example, we've improved battery life by over 20 percent, made voice search 10 percent faster and brought you frames, shades and prescription support."

The number of apps now available to Glass users is also increasing, thanks to the addition of 11 new apps, according to a related June 24 post on the Google Glass Google+ page.

The new apps are Runtastic, a personal trainer app that includes a collection of workouts; 94Fifty Basketball, which works with the 94Fifty Smart Sensor Basketball to help players improve their game by measuring muscle memory that the human eye can't see; The Guardian, which provides breaking news alerts from the newspaper and lets users save the articles to read later; Duolingo, which helps users learn new languages by turning the process into a game; and GuidiGO, an app users can take with them to designated museums in 27 destinations and through more than 250 guided tours where they can get a personal tour through Glass.

The other new Glass apps are Zombies, Run!, which lets users go on their runs while being chased by simulated zombies; Star Chart, which lets users look up at the sky and explore the stars, planets and constellations above; Shazam on Glass, which can give users the name of a track and artist of a song that's playing around them;, which keeps users up to date with what's happening in the world of soccer; Livestream, which lets users broadcast live video and read chat messages from their audience and share via social networks; and musiXmatch, which picks up on the music playing around the user and displays the lyrics for songs in any language.