Since the announcement of Google Glass, the wearable headset computer has been the butt of Saturday Night Live jokes and the inspiration for countless editorials about tech distractions. It’s a lot for a product that isn’t even on the market: Glass remains a curious gadget accessible only to about 10,000 testers who have been using it to search, play with maps, and take hands-free photos and video.
Google still won’t provide a release date (“next year” is all they’ll say), but Nov. 12’s Glass-related announcement seems like a lurch toward actual widespread human consumption. In the coming weeks, Google will fully integrate its Play Music feature and All Access music- streaming service into Glass, allowing subscribers to stream albums and craft playlists using voice commands. “Music is such a key part of people’s lives, from commuting to partying,” says Ed Sanders, director of marketing for Google Glass. “We think it’s a really compelling piece of the Glass puzzle.”
The music-related rollout will also include a pair of stereo earbuds and a Shazam-like feature called Sound Search that will identify tunes. Part of the idea is to make the device more attractive to users, but it’s also to get software developers excited to play in Glass’ sandbox. “Different people have different things they love, and Glass will be an interesting platform to build more of what they love into their daily lives,” says Sanders. “Music is just one component.” It’s a sound philosophy — one that should make for some neat new toys once Google finally releases the thing.