Google Glass Update Includes Improved Contacts List

Glass users will also get more voice command options and other features, including a new currency converter service using Google Now.

Google Glass

The latest Google Glass update now brings Glass users quicker access to their 20 favorite friends and other contacts using voice commands, as well as additional new voice commands that will enable more hands-free options.

The new XE20.1 Glass update, which was announced by Google Aug. 20 in a post on Google+ by the Glass team, will let users access other contacts beyond their 20 favorites with a simple finger swipe. The update is available to Android users now, while iOS users will have to wait another week or so to receive the latest MyGlass app, according to the post.

"A new Glass update is coming and it lets you access all your phone contacts on Glass," the post announced. "You'll find 20 by voice and the rest are just a swipe away. You also asked for a way to pick and choose how you message people. When you tap on one of your contacts, you can now switch between Hangouts, email or SMS—whichever strikes your fancy at that moment."

A post on the Glass Journal Web page explains more about why the changes are being introduced to the contacts feature on Glass. "First off, Explorers have been telling us that when they choose a contact from Glass they'd also like the option to choose how they message them," the post states. That's why the new Hangouts, email and SMS swiping capabilities are being introduced.

Using Google Contacts, Glass users now have access to their entire phone books, along with improved organizational features for their contacts list. "Starring a contact is really easy. Just find them in your phone and click the star. If the star is filled in, then the contact has been favorited."

For Android phone users, once their Glass device gets the new XE20.1 software update, their previous MyGlass contacts will automatically be starred in the new Google Contacts, according to the post. "Just go to the People app on your phone and you can edit and star contacts right there."

iPhone users will have to run through a few quick steps to organize their contacts once their Glass update is available. The first step will be to select Contacts from the sidebar of the MyGlass app and click through several contacts setup screens, according to Google. Next, at the Import contacts screen, select Allow on the pop-up asking permission for MyGlass to access your phone's address book. The next screen shows how to keep phone contacts synced with your Google Account to keep everything synchronized, according to the instructions.

"Once you're all set up, your contacts on Glass will update whenever you edit someone on your phone's address book or add a new contact," the post states. "So next time you make a new friend and add their number to your phone, you'll be able to find them on Glass too."

Also included in the latest Glass update is an expanded "head nudge" feature, according to the release notes for the update. "You've always been able to turn off Glass' display with a slight nudge of your head," the notes state. "Now the feature has its own card in the Settings bundle, where you can turn it on and off. Head nudge is off by default."

The separate Head Wake Up feature, which turns on the display with a lift of your head, needs to be enabled separately, the post continued.

Also new to the Glass update is a "Nearby Events card" that automatically displays events like concerts and festivals happening near a user's location, which is helpful to keep track of cool events you may have otherwise missed. A new currency converter Google Now card is also part of the update, giving users the ability to convert currencies on the run.

The additional new voice command capabilities give users more sharing and storage options during phone calls and after recording a video or taking a photo.

Google Glass devices underwent a hardware update in June, when Google bumped Glass up to 2GB of RAM, while also adding more Google Now cards and a slew of newly available apps that run on the devices. At that time, Glass also received a Glass "viewfinder" update, which helps users frame their photos more easily when using Glass.

Also in June, Google announced that Glass is now available for the first time for sale to beta Glass Explorers in the United Kingdom, making it the first place outside the United States where Glass wannabes can buy the devices.

Google Glass has been a topic of conversation among techies since news of the futuristic eyeglass-mounted computing devices first surfaced in 2012 at the Google I/O developer's conference in the United States. Developers at the show were offered the chance to buy early "Explorer" versions of Glass for $1,500 for testing and development. Glass was the hit of that conference.