Google beefs up voice capabilities with Google Glass update

Privacy, safety and security concerns dog wearable computer

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) is expanding the voice recognition capabilities of Google Glass as part of a monthly software update being sent out to users testing the beta version of the wearable computer.

Last month's software update improved the camera capabilities; this month's update is beefing up the voice capabilities, explained the Project Glass blog.

"Let's say your friend texts you. You can now say 'ok glass, read aloud' to hear it and answer with 'ok glass, reply'," related the blog.

In addition, users can tap the 'send a message' or make a phone call to Gmail contacts. "When you tap on 'message' from the main menu, you swipe through your contacts' profile photos and tap to send a message," the blog noted.

Finally, Google is beefing up the search capabilities of Google Glass. "To test it out, search for something and then tap on the 'View website' screen to bring up the web page," the blog added.

"Once you're on the web page, there are a few ways you can explore: scroll--slide your finger forward on the touchpad to scroll down; zoom--slide two fingers forward or backward to zoom; look around--with two fingers down on the touchpad, move your head around to pan; and click--as you look around, you can tap to select anything in the center of the screen."

The update is rolling out this week to beta Google Glass users, who are primarily app developers.

Questions remain whether Google Glass will be able to pass regulatory muster when it comes to privacy, particularly in countries such as Canada and European Union countries that have strong privacy rules. Last month, a group of privacy regulators, led by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, expressed concerns about the privacy issues raised by Google Glass in a letter to Google CEO Larry Page.

In addition, a number of analysts have expressed skepticism that Google Glass will pass safety and security muster in the corporate environment.

For more:
- read the Project Glass blog
- check out the privacy regulators' letter

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