What can Google Glass do now? A look at all the XE software updates and features

So, you were one of the many people who watched that Google Glass video on YouTube earlier this year and got all excited over the possibilities, but now, several months later, you find yourself a little confused about what Glass is, what it can currently do, and where it’s headed.

Glass exploded onto the tech scene, teasing consumers with its ability to recognise voice commands, place video calls, capture pictures and video hand-free, provide navigation directions, compose and send text messages, translate voices, serve up information based on location and history, etc. But 10 months after the Explorer Edition of Glass rolled out to testers, there’s been an obvious haziness about what the device can really do now.

Google has promotional videos and websites that detail Glass in full, and it has given reviewers – such as Pocket-lint- plenty of time to give the device a whirl, though monthly updates make it hard to keep up with all the changes. As of 17 December 2013, there have been eight XE software updates since the original Explorer Edition of Glass released. That means there are far more bells and whistles available than what was originally shown off in that promo video from earlier this year.
If you’d like to find out more about what Google’s XE software updates brought to Glass in terms of snazzy new features and signification improvements, read on. We’ve compiled everything you need to know, and we’ll continue to update this article as the updates release.

What is Google Glass?

For those of you who haven’t heard of Google Glass before, here’s a brief summary: Glass (short for Google Glass) is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display. The developer version costs $1,500.
Google X, which is a secretive facility overseen by Google-founder Sergey Brin, is working on Glass as part of the “Project Glass” research and development project and began testing it in 2012. In fact, Brin was often spotted wearing a prototype of Glass at events around Silicon Valley.
Later in 2012, Brin publicly demoed Glass at Google I/O. His presentation streamed live POV footage from skydivers, abseilers, and mountain bikers as they donned Glass. As a follow up to the well-received presentation, Google published a video in early 2013 that showcased Glass’ abilities in the first-person POV.
The “How it Feels” Glass video quickly went viral on YouTube, generating excitement among consumers and spawning a slew of press coverage and parodies.
Here’s the two Videos about Google Glass.
Google Glasses (Video)

Google Glass 2.0 Unboxing (Video)

What is the Glass Explorer program?

The Glass Explorer program is basically an early adopter program that began in early 2013, and it’s available to both developers and consumers. They can test an “Explorer Edition” of Glass, and then report feedback to Google at their leisure. Glass testers are known as “Explorers.”
Google also launched a complimentary Glass website, where the company claimed it would make Glass available to a wider group of Explorers in late 2013, with even broader availability in 2014. Google’s ultimate goal is to produce a mass-market ubiquitous computer. The consumer version of Glass will allegedly cost “significantly less” than the $1,500 Explorer Edition.

What is XE?

“XE” stands for Explorer Edition. And the original Explorer Edition of Glass debuted with software called XE4, likely because Glass rolled out the update in April (the fourth month in the year).

Google releases monthly software updates to Explorers, with each name changing in chronological order to reflect the progress (XE5, XE6, XE7, etc). All Glass software updates are collectively known as “XE software updates,” and they usually roll out within the first two weeks of every month.

Where can you find the XE release notes?

We’ve summarised the release notes of every XE software update, but you can visit Google’s Release Notes Archivehub if you want to browse the full change logs for yourself.