Google Glass 3.0
Google Glass Explorer Edition: Explained! Marques Brownlee
Google Glass Explorer Edition: Explained!
Google Glass How-to: Getting Started Google Glass
Google Glass How-to: Getting Started

Photos - Google Glass 3.0

Google Glass 3.0 Google Glass 3.0 Google Glass 3.0 Google Glass 3.0 Google Glass 3.0 Google Glass 3.0 - contents Google Glass 3.0 - camera Google Glass 3.0 - Button Google Glass 3.0 - Arm Google Glass 3.0 - Nose Pads Google Glass 3.0 - glass button Google Glass 3.0 - Hinge Google Glass 3.0 - look Google Glass 3.0 - Set Google Glass 3.0 - Nose Google Glass 3.0 - earphone Google Glass 3.0 - Box Google Glass 3.0 - sunglasses
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Google Glass 3.0 - Specification

UsageFor PCFor SmartphonesFor quadcopter
Operating systemMinimum system requirements
TypeAvailabilityAR - See-through
SizeField of view horizontal13°
Front camera5MP
FeaturesVideo recordingVideo recording options720p
Internal memoryCapacity16Gb
Wi-Fi802.11 b/g
USBCharger connector
SoundHeadphone input 3.5mm
Battery 570mAh
ContentsHeadphonesControl console

Google Glass overview

Google Glass is an augmented reality headset from Google released in February 2013 for developers and in May 2014 it became available to all buyers. The gadget looks like ordinary eyeglasses with a display and a camera above the right eye. Google Glass is one of the most minimalist headsets in its segment, it can search for and display information, take photos and make videos, and even calls. Let’s try to figure out whether the device is worth paying 1,200 USD, for whom it is needed and whether it is necessary at all.
The company has been developing smart glasses since 2011, when the first 3.5 kg prototype appeared. By 2013, the gadget had become lighter than the average pair of sunglasses. The first working version was introduced by Sergey Brin in April 2012, and a month later Google showed the operation principles of the device. The first customers — 8000 people — got their purchases in Google offices in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco after paying 1,500 USD. The glasses called Google Glass Explorer went on sale at the same price.
Immediately after the mass market launch in May 2014, the company announced the start of a broad beta testing. But already in January 2015 the production and sales were canceled, and the company announced that the glasses had finished the testing period and had been sent for revision. In July 2017, it became known that the company named X — a subsidiary of Google specializing in innovation — had been working on the device all that time. Developers presented Google Glass Enterprise Edition only for large companies. For basic users, sales are not yet planned.

By the summer of 2018, Google had released three models of glasses:
  • Google Glass Explorer Version 1. It was a release version which everyone could buy.
  • Google Glass Explorer Version 2. The glasses received large 2GB RAM, a headset in the kit and the ability to install corrective lenses. Most of the offers now is the Version 2, but before buying it is worth clarifying how much memory on board is. Stores often confuse models with each other.
  • Google Glass Enterprise Edition. It is a new model of 2017 available only on personal order for companies or developers. The processor, camera and battery are better, it has more memory and a barometer. There are not very much information about the enterpise version, but the glasses are actively used in the industry and labs. In August 2018 Stanford University researchers developed Superpower Glass System application which could help kids with autism to recognize human emotions.
Google Glass Enterprise Edition At the same time, Version 1 can be sold as 2.0, and Version 2 — as 3.0. The reason is that sometimes shops count generations starting from the very first prototype which was not available for sale and was supplied exclusively to developers.
In the review we will deal with Google Glass Explorer Version 2.

Pros of Google Glass

A convenient camera. Due to the possibility of shooting without hands covering the field of view Google Glass can be forgiven for a lot of other things. It is an indispensable tool for travel bloggers, reporters, journalists, cameramen.
Google Now and news. Personalized recommendations, maps, new places and a morning news selection right in the eyes — with glasses, life becomes a bit futuristic and more convenient.
A stylish design. With the weight of 42 grams, the device outperforms all its competitors in terms of convenience of wearing. Its design — a thin hoop with a thickened handle — also can be regarded as a benefit in comparison with massive headsets.

Cons of Google Glass

There is no official support. Google Glass is made exclusively for developers and corporate clients. You can find the models on unofficial sale, but they will be without the manufacturer's warranty and support.
A weak battery. The battery will last for a working day only if you do not connect glasses to your smartphone. In the active mode — up to 6 hours, when shooting a video — an hour.
Few applications. The total number of applications including official ones and from third-party developers is 228. New applications for ordinary users appear rarely because of the focus on the requests of large companies.

Google Glass competitors

Google Glass is augmented reality glasses, i.e. they are able to project holograms and information onto real space, but do not attribute them to physical objects. In fact, it's just a screen before your eyes. Let’s compare the device with similar ones:

  • Vuzix Blade, 1,100 USD. There is an 8 megapixel camera, a memory card slot and Alexa voice assistant. The gadget looks more like ordinary glasses in its design. The battery is worse than one in Google Glass.
  • Epson Moverio, 780 USD. The camera and display are like ones in Google Glass. The design is unusual, with very thin rectangular lenses. As for the interesting features, there are modes for the gym and control of drones.
  • Sony SmartEyeglass, 500 USD. In terms of its functions it does not differ from Google Glass, but it is inferior to it in quality: the display is monochrome, the camera is only of 3 megapixels, compatibility — only with Android. But there is a controller and the price is not very high.
  • DreamGlass, 400 USD. The screen with the resolution of 2.5K, a camera at 1080p, recognition of gestures — glasses are approaching the VR headsets. The design suffers, the gadget is heavier than Google Glass and looks more massive.
It is also necessary to mention some information about sports glasses. For example, Solos for 500 USD is specially designed for cyclists, shows key information, synchronizes with the Strava and MapMyRide fitness applications. It has already been tested by the US national cycling team! And Eyesight Raptor for the same price tracks the health state, route map and the surrounding world with the help of the camera, and what’s more, it supports voice control. You could compare Google Glass with Microsoft HoloLens, Magic Leap One and Meta 2, but all these products work with mixed reality and allow you to work with virtual objects tied to the real world.
Compared to Google Glass, other augmented reality headsets are cheaper and more affordable — regular users can buy them on official websites. At the same time, their design is not the most stylish one, but the set of functions depends on the price and the model. We advise you to examine the available options and not to be in a hurry and buy Google Glass, as the company clearly focuses on corporate cooperation with major brands.

Design and ergonomics of Google Glass

The gadget is minimalist and stylish. The frame, like one in the usual glasses, covers the head, there are two metal nose pads covered with silicone in the center. The frame on the inside is made of plastic, on the outside — it is from metal. At the same time, the temple tips are asymmetric: the left one is ordinary, thin, and the right one is thickened because there is a camera, a display, a speaker and all the electronics here. The case is protected from water, but after a shower or rain, it is better to wipe the glasses with a microfibre cloth and allow them to dry.

As for the basic elements, everything can be found on the right temple:

  • The display is on the part protruding forward, in front of the eye.
  • The camera is on the left of the display.
  • The speaker is a button-like element with the inscription Glass behind the ear, it transmits sound over the bone.
  • The touchpad is a touch zone for control, on the outside in front of the ear.
  • The power button is round, on the inside in front of the ear.
  • The camera button is made of metal, on the top, closer to the camera and the screen.
  • The eye sensor is on the inside of the protruding part, on the bend.
  • The microphone is at the bottom, under the sensor of the eye.
  • The USB connector is at the bottom, under the power button.
Google Glass Colors The ergonomics and convenience of glasses is not bad, but not ideal. The right temple with the camera can be moved up and down and from the left to the right at a slight angle. You get used to the screen after half an hour. Then even an illusion of binocular vision appears, i.e. it seems that virtual elements are projected onto both eyes at once. In reality, the prism hangs in front of the right eye, so the load on it is greater. Google Glass can be worn with prescription eyeglasses, if it is all properly adjusted, it is convenient. What’s more, the gadget weighs only 42 grams.

Google Glass display

The display is created on the basis of the liquid crystals technology on silicone (LCoS), the resolution — 800x480. Since the screen is close to the eye, the resolution is equivalent to a 25-inch HD monitor at a distance of 2.5 meters. The display is above the right eye, you can move it slightly to make it more convenient to watch. The virtual image is transmitted into the corner, but eventually you get used to it and perceive the picture with both eyes. Holograms are not connected with the real world, it's just a floating window.
The principle of operation of the projector and prism Virtual and real layers matching

Google Glass hardware

All the electronics needed for work are built in the glasses. The processor is TI OMAP 4430 (Cortex-A9) which works on two cores with a maximum frequency of 1.2 GHz. Built-in memory — 16 GB, 12 GB is available for a user, the rest is occupied by the system. RAM — 2 GB in the new version. Google Glass does not perform any particularly productive tasks, so no lags or freezes were noticed. The search engine and the video work well.

The speaker deserves special attention. It is non-standard here, it works on the basis of the bone conduction. It means that sounds enter the inner ear through the bones of the skull from the transducer. This means that other people will not hear much, and even people with impaired hearing can work in the glasses. Through the kit speaker which is connected to the micro-USB connector the sound is not transmitted better or more isolated.
The details of the glasses

Google Glass camera

The only module — 5 megapixel, it can take pictures in the resolution of 2560x1888 and make videos up to 720p. As for the benefits, the camera is firmly fixed on the glasses and on the head accordingly, so it almost does not produce a blur after shaking and jiggling. It's hard to miss something with Google Glass, it takes photos almost instantly. You can take a picture in three ways by using:
  • Your voice — say ‘Ok Glass, take a picture’ (the device understands only English).
  • Your finger — click on the special button on the right side on the top closer to the screen.
  • Your eye — the inner sensor responds to a wink, although it often erroneously reacts to a blink.
As for the drawbacks, because of the ‘instant’ principle there are no settings, zoom, previews and flashes in the glasses. Google Glass takes a picture right away, after a quick focusing. You cannot preview a shot before shooting, so often the horizon is cluttered, and in the field of view you can see something what was not planned. At night, the quality is worse than even in budget smartphones, but in the daytime with good light, the glasses give a good picture.
After shooting, a picture can be saved in the memory or deleted. We recommend removing photos immediately because they automatically fall into the cloud storage, so you will not clog up the memory in this way.

Video is good in terms of quality, but the main convenience is that as a result, you get what you see, it's convenient. By default, video is recorded during 10 seconds, to extend it — touch the touchpad.
A daylight photo In the dark room A daylight photo Another example of photo

Google Glass as a standalone device

The battery is situated in the right temple behind the ear, it balances the gadget and makes it more convenient. The battery capacity is 800 mAh, according to Google, this is enough for 8 hours. In fact, the glasses withstand 4-6 hours in the active mode depending on the number of photos. When you make a video, the device works no more than an hour. On the other hand, little battery capacity is convenient — a full charge takes less than two hours.

Setting up and the beginning of work with Google Glass

You can start the gadget for the first time using a computer, a smartphone on Android (4.0 and higher) or iOS (7.0 and higher). Instructions are passed through the Google Glass screen, everything is quite clear. Running and setting takes 15-20 minutes. If you have any difficulties, please look in the Help section of the menu.
To use the gadget via your smartphone, firstly, you need to download the MyGlass application from Google Play or App Store. The problem is that it is only available in the USA where Google Glass is officially sold. You can get rid of this problem by registering an account in the US version of the application store or by downloading it from a third-party resource. When pairing devices via Bluetooth, do not forget to confirm the connection both on the smartphone and the glasses via the touchpad.

The control of Google Glass

After starting with the help of a round button, the glasses will show the start screen with time indication, the basic phrase: ‘Ok Glass’ and the instruction. You can control the device in three ways by using:
  • Your voice. The glasses show the available commands after the basic phrase. Phrases can run Google Now, the camera, can plan your route, work with messages and calls. Everything is in English.
  • Your finger. There is a left-right scrolling, brushing up and down and a short touch for confirmation. All is done by using the touchpad, you need to get used to it a bit.
  • Your eye. So far, only a wink makes the camera take a picture. Sometimes it makes errors and reacts to simple blinking.
As for the control elements, the most convenient one is the voice, but here is a drawback for those who do not know English well. Phrases can be learned in a day even if you have never spoken the language before, but you will have to train your voice for a long time. The glasses are not very demanding, but they will not react to a strong accent or simply incorrect pronunciation. The navigator, messages and calls also have a localization problem.

A start screen

Google Glass software

The official website has 114 applications. There is also an unofficial page with applications from third-party developers, there are 121 options there. Google encourages authors to create new programs for the glasses. There are very few applications so far compared to other VR glasses or headsets, besides, the company does not plan to develop versions for mass-market users and focuses on large companies.
Classic native apps are the following: Google Now with the weather and news, a travel planner, e-mail from Gmail, a navigator, a stopwatch and a timer, Hangouts for communication and photo sharing. There are also mini-games: ball balance, the easiest shooter, tennis. Third-party manufacturers optimized social networks (Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare), news applications (CNN and Elle), sports trackers (Strava). The following utilities are especially useful: IFTTT for pairing different gadgets and Word Lens for real-life and real-time translation of inscriptions and texts.

Packaging and arrangement of Google Glass

Consumer versions were sold in rectangular white cardboard boxes with everything you need for work in them:

  • Google Glass.
  • A headset in the case.
  • A charging adapter.
  • A USB / micro-USB cable.
  • 4 pads for temples.
  • Sun-protection lenses.
  • A FAQ-guide.
If you buy the glasses now, check labels, XE-C is Google Glass Version 2 (or 3.0, by other symbols), and XE-B is Version 1 (or 2.0). Older models do not have a headset. But in new models it is not the most convenient one, it is designed for one ear and it is inferior to third-party headphones in its quality.
It is also necessary to mention some points about lenses. The glasses themselves are just a temple with a projector, there are no lenses here. There are sun-protection patches in the box. If you need transparent or corrective glasses, then they need to be ordered separately. During official sales, it could be coordinated with Google, as well as their color. Now — with sellers. Be attentive, native kits come with an American — flat — plug in the charger.

The box and the glasses

The problems with the device and recommendations for Google Glass usage

The main problem is the lack of official support from Google. If you are going to buy a gadget, be prepared for bugs, software errors and overheating, but, what is more important, be ready to solve all your problems by yourself. Do not forget that you will not be able to update the firmware by air either because of the lack of official mass-market versions of the glasses. You will have to find an off-the-beaten-track solution and update the device via the computer and debug it via USB.

Among the most common problems we should highlight the following ones:

  • Failure to run. Most often it happens after full charging and USB disconnecting.
  • Going to sleep mode. The touchpad which should output from sleep does not respond.
  • Heating of the right temple. It happens in the strongest way with constant video shooting.
  • Flaking off of the prism. Mirror coating on the screen can grow bare, especially when temperature changes occur.
By the way, if Google Glass is not launched after a full discharge and not less than a week of inactivity, then it went into protected mode. This is normal. You can wake it up if you hold down the power button during 15 seconds. After this, always complete two full charging cycles.
Useful information is available on the support website, but it is only in English. If you are a developer and want to order glasses, then you can do it on a new website.

Google Glass 3.0 - Alternatives

Showing 1-10 of 10 items.
PhotoUSDTitle px.AngleHz.MPGr.
Microsoft HoloLens4,412Microsoft HoloLens    1268×72030°602 pc.579
Google Glass 2.01,339Google Glass 2.0   640×36050
ACV HYPE SVR-FHD153ACV HYPE SVR-FHD960×1080100°70 430
Epson Moverio BT-200898Epson Moverio BT-200  960×54023°60 88
Epson Moverio BT-300956Epson Moverio BT-300  1280×72023°1 pc.69
Epson Moverio BT-3501,560Epson Moverio BT-350  1280×72023°1 pc.119
Epson Moverio Pro BT-20004,726Epson Moverio Pro BT-2000  960×54023°60 290
Epson Moverio Pro BT-22004,562Epson Moverio Pro BT-2200  960×54023°60 270
Samsung Gear VR SM-R325102Samsung Gear VR SM-R325  101°345
Digma VR L4286Digma VR L421920×1080100°445

Google Glass 3.0 - Comparison

Brand Google Microsoft Google ACV
Model Glass 2.0 HoloLens Glass 3.0 HYPE SVR-FHD
Min. price USD
Announced 2017 2013
Release 2017 2016/03/30 2013
For Smartphones
Total weight 36 gram 579 gram
Body weight 579 gram 50 gram 430 gram
Dimensions 188×125×100 mm.
AR - See-through
Aspect ratio 16:9
Field of view horizontal 13 ° 30 ° 100 °
Field of view vertical 17 °
Resolution 640×360 px. 1268×720 px. 640×360 px. 960×1080 px.
Refresh rate 60 Hz. 70 Hz.
Lens diameter 43.3
Capacity 570 mAh 16500 mAh
Battery life
Average time 5.5 hours
Operating system
Operating system 32-bit Windows 10.0.11802.1033
Minimum system requirements устройства на базе Android 4.0.3 и iOS 7.x устройства на базе Android 4.х и iOS 7.x
Windows 10
Windows Mixed Reality
Internal memory
Capacity 16Gb 64Gb 16Gb 16Gb
RAM size 2Gb 2Gb 2Gb
RAM type DDR3
Model Intel Atom X5-Z8100
GPU - Video card
Model HoloLens Graphics PowerVR SGX544
Memory 114Mb Mb
Front camera
Resolution 5 MP
Number 2 pc.
Video recording
Video recording options 720p
Headphone input 3.5mm
Voice control
3DoF Turning head
3DoF Rotation tracking
6DoF Positional tracking
Tracking area
Games 600
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g
Charger connector
Touch control panel
Control console
External position sensor in space
Proximity sensor