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Google Glass trialled by Virgin Atlantic staff at London’s Heathrow airport

google glass trialled by virgin atlantic staff at londons heathrow airport

As Google Glass edges closer to commercial availability, an increasing number of companies and organizations are looking at the possibility of incorporating the Web giant’s tech into their business.

Virgin Atlantic, for example, is equipping its ground-based staff at London’s Heathrow airport with the face-based computer in a six-week trial designed to make the check-in process smoother for its customers – if you happen to be a first- or business-class passenger, that is. Sony’s SmartWatch 2 is also being tried out in the pilot scheme.

With a few taps and swipes on the touchpad of Google’s gadget, staff will be able to provide passengers with the latest information on flight status, weather at their destination, as well as local events taking place there. While an app or two on your smartphone should be able to provide you with the same information, Virgin Atlantic has also partnered with air transport IT specialist SITA to build a dispatch app to manage task allocation and concierge availability.

The special service incorporating the wearable tech is based at Virgin Atlantic’s Upper Class Wing at Heathrow, a special lounge designed specifically for its high-paying customers. The app works by pushing relevant passenger-related information to Glass or the smartwatch as the flier arrives at the lounge.

According to SITA, the technology may at some point be used to “tell Virgin Atlantic staff their passengers’ dietary and refreshment preferences – anything that provides a better and more personalized service.”

If staff find the wearable tech and accompanying app to be useful, the service is likely to be rolled out more widely in the future.

Virgin Atlantic is also testing Apple’s iBeacon technology with its Upper Class passengers at Heathrow, with the Bluetooth transmitter providing arriving passengers with information on nearby services and discounts, together with updates on boarding schedules.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Google Glass edges toward launch with latest software update
google glass monthly update october

Google continues with its roll out of monthly software updates for its Glass smart specs, on Monday releasing XE10 for its 8,000 or so Explorers across the US.
The beta testers can now try out its new step-by-step transit directions feature. Just as with the Google Maps directions feature used by so many on their smartphones, Glass will pull up detailed instructions straight from the home screen, including information such as transfer points and estimations on journey time.
Utter the words, “OK Glass, get directions to [location]”, and the face-based gadget will generate directions based on whatever method you used last time – ie. car, on foot, bicycle, or public transit.
Switching from bike to public transit or some other method? Simply tap the directions card and swipe until you see Transit, at which point you can make your selection.
According to TechCrunch, this latest feature currently only works with a paired Android device – iPhone owners with Glass will have to continue to use the Maps app on their smartphone to get directions, for the time being at least.
The update also brings with it links in notifications, enabling you to visit links in tweets, texts, and emails by tapping on the card and selecting ‘view site’.
Finally, when sending messages or comments, the profile image of the person you’re writing to will show up behind the text, providing you with a constant visual reminder (and possibly a somewhat ghostly image) of the intended recipient.
The Mountain View company, which is aiming to get its wearable tech in stores some time next year, kicked off a nationwide Glass roadshow last weekend. The tour lets visitors try out the high-tech specs and meet the Glass team in person, at the same time giving Google the chance to gather valuable feedback from those interested in the device.
 [Image: Antonio Zugaldia]

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Galaxy Gear vs. Google Glass: The battle for your wrist was just won … by your face!
galaxy gear vs google glass

Yesterday's unveiling of Samsung's Gear smartwatch has some hyperventilating about how this oft-ballyhooed form factor has finally arrived. But as we watched the event unfold, and some of us even got our mitts on it, we couldn't help but think that, stripped of the whole band and face, the Gear didn't strike us as that different from another oft-ballyhooed form factor: Google Glass. What's more, Glass is superior in most every way, and it's not even out of beta. 
Let's see how these two devices stack up in some completely fair categories we've arbitrarily concocted … 
Gear has rightly been described described as a slave to the Galaxy Note 3.0; it serves exclusively to communicate information on the phablet to the wrist so you don't have to go through all the onerous motions of pulling your giant phone out from your bag (or the massive pockets you had custom tailored to fit it). Because, really, using your arms in such a way is exhausting. But what about that wrist-born screen? It's not showing itself to you, now is it? If you want to know what's going on on your Note you have to … that's right! … Lift your arm!
Glass is the ultimate in convenience. There's no rolling back of the sleeve, no exhausting pivot of the elbow and angling of the neck. Information is delivered directly to your face and requires moving nothing but your eyeballs. Granted, eyeball moving can be tiring, but nowhere near as tiring as arm movements. 
Winner: Google Glass
Skin and eye health
Even if you're willing to put in the physical effort, Gear's 1.63-inch display is squint-inducingly small, and we all know that squinting causes facial wrinkles that make us look older, faster. Glass offers the equivalent of a 25-inch display viewed from eight feet away. This means no squinting; ergo, using Glass will keep you looking young while using Gear will add years to your face.
Winner: Google Glass
Social situations
If looking old isn't bad enough, there's the social implications of screen location. Glass takes a bit of getting used to, but once mastered you can literally scan your message feeds without anyone around you thinking you're doing anything beyond adjusting your glasses to see them better. Gear requires you to look at your watch in the middle of a conversation.
So. Notifications and information delivery = better. Chances of being called an ass at the dinner table = lessened.
Winner: Google Glass
Talking on the phone

This is simple biology. Your mouth is closer to your eyes than it is to your wrist. Yes, you can lift Gear to your mouth, but it's less convenient and arguably more ridiculous than talking into thin air. And unless you're one of these kids, you probably don't want to spend your time talking like Dick Tracy.
Winner: Google Glass
Video recording
We’ve seen skydivers, marriage proposals, and even surgery shot with Glass, most of which are only possible because you can still use your arms and hands while doing so. Glasshole Robert Scoble says Google's camera takes less than one second to activate, which means you won’t miss those special moments marketing folk are always telling us about. 
Compare that with Gear, where one of your hands will always be out of commission while recording, and you'll need to master the art of aiming and focusing a lens that's at a 90-degree angle to the viewfinder. As opposed to, you know, just looking at something. 
Winner: Google Glass
Device support
Gear doesn't just need to be connected to a phone to work; it has to be connected to a Note 3.0 or 10.1 2014 edition. Glass, on the other hand, is compatible with most Android devices and iPhone/iPad, too. We get that Samsung has made a strategic move to bolster its ecosystem of device. We also don't know anyone clambering for a Galaxy Note 3.0 or the new 10.1.
Winner: Google Glass

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Japanese upstart ready to challenge Google Glass with Telepathy One

Google Glass has the interest of much of the tech world, but currently has limited availability for people who want to get their hands on them. For those who can't wait to be able to wear some technology on their head, a Japanese startup may have an alternative to the search engine giant's creation. Entrepreneur Takahito Iguchi showed off Telepathy One, the wearable tech solution that his team created, last night in New York. 
Telepathy One has a unique design that is decidedly more sci-fi than the Google Glass display. An optically projected screen will appear in front of the eyes of the device wearer. Displayed on the tiny projector is media from a cell phone via an app. It has the capability to stream video and photos from the phone or capture media from the device and send it back to the phone. That is the emphasis of Telepathy One, it's capability to share between the wearer and the user of the phone app. This gives it a more focused goal than Google Glass for the time being.
A popular camera app in Japan, Manga Camera, was ready to run on the demo device. The app created cartoon version of people in the picture. When one took a photo with the phone app, the manga-fied version of the photo would appear on the projection screen of Telepathy One. This appears to be the type of functionality the device will aim to provide when it launches near Christmas of this year. No price or other details are really known at this point.

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