Google confirms Android SDK for wearables coming in two weeks

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Today during a talk at a SXSW Interactive event, Google’s Android and Chrome chief Sundar Pichai apparently announced that a new Android SDK for developers interested in developing wearables will arrive in the next two weeks (via TheVerge). While Google isn’t announcing any specific products, Pichai made it clear that Google will be approaching Android on smart watches and wearables much like on smartphones. With the new SDK, Sundar said the company plans to “lay out a vision for developers as to how we’ll see this market working.” Pichai also hinted that the new Android SDK for wearables will incorporate wearables beyond simply smartwatches.

“We want to develop a set of common protocols by which they can work together,” Pichai said, “they need a mesh layer and they need a data layer by which they can all come together”… “when we say we say wearables, we are thinking much more broadly”

9to5Google first reported that Google was working on a smartwatch that would rely heavily on Google Now-like features. There have been unconfirmed reports recently that Google as well as some of its close partners like LG have been developing smart watches and wearables running Android. Google also picked up WIMM Labs late last year for its Android smartwatch/wearble platform and SDK and the most recent report claimed that a Nexus smartwatch announcement could come as soon as this month. Read more

Report: Google prepping XE10 Glass update to officially enable third-party apps

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According to a new report from Geek.com, Google is preparing an “XE 10″ update for Google Glass next month that will officially enable apps from third-party developers. Details in the report are vague, but the site says Google has been working with devs and providing access to sensors, voice commands, and other features that unofficial third-party apps floating around can’t:

Multiple sources have now confirmed to Geek.com that the update offers developers access to the sensors in Glass for use in motion tracking and development. Developers will also be able to create their own voice commands through Glassware, giving the user the ability to launch the app from the “OK Glass” menu if they so choose.

The site says that Google has been working with developers to ensure Glassware apps will be available at launch, and also says Google will have a launch announcement alongside the XE10 update: Read more

‘MedRef’ Google Glass facial recognition app for doctors now available for download

When talking about potential applications for Google Glass, the ability to use facial recognition is one area that we’ve seen discussed in many patents and projects from Google and others. Today, SelfScreens.com points us to perhaps the first facial recognition Glassware available with info on a new app dubbed MedRef for Glass that was recently created at a medical hackathon. The app, which was designed to allow doctors to pull up info on patients with Glass by simply recognizing their face, is being made available to download by its creators who also discussed the app in detail on their blog.

The app lets you find and create patient folders by voice, add photo and voice notes, view previous notes, and also find patient folders by facial recognition! Very exciting.Some people I talked to said hospitals are full of very busy people, often with their hands full, working with a lot of information – so Google Glass making it wearable is especially looked forward to there!”

One of the developers also gives us a walkthrough of an early build of the app in the video above showing how doctors can quickly notes about a patient that will be called up later when Glass recognizes the patient’s face.  Read more

Google partners with SoundCloud, Fandango, Deezer & more to bring app activity from Google+ to Search

soundcloud-feature

Google announced today on its Google+ Developers Blog that it will be working with app and site developers to integrate what it is calling “app activities” into search results. In other words, when searching for an app or site through Google search such as SoundCloud, users will now be greeted with a section to the right of search results showing related SoundCloud content that’s popular among Google+ users. Google is initially teaming up with music and movie apps Deezer, Fandango, Flixster, Slacker Radio, Songza,SoundCloud and TuneIn but plans to add more soon as the feature begins to roll out on desktops in the coming weeks.

Below Google compares the current search results for Fandango to the new improved results page with app activities: Read more

Hackers confirm Google Glass “root is easy”, let the modding begin (Update: Google says it left Glass unlocked intentionally)

Update: A post from Google employee Dan Morrill clarifies that, although the original developer claimed a “root is easy”, the process developers are using is actually a ‘fastboot oem unlock’. Rather than exposing a security exploit, Google has actually intentionally left Glass open for devs to tinker with, as further explained by Googler Stephen Lau:

Not to bring anybody down… but seriously… we intentionally left the device unlocked so you guys could hack it and do crazy fun shit with it.  I mean, FFS, you paid $1500 for it… go to town on it.  Show me something cool.

Updated 2: Founder of the Cydia jailbreak store @saurik provided some clarification on his earlier tweets, informing us that he did not use fastboot oem unlock:

Actually, my device’s bootloader is still locked: I did not use fastboot oem unlock, and in fact that would not have been useful without the source code to the Glass kernel, which was not made available until this morning. I relied on a race condition in the adb restore process, a bug that existed in Android 4.0 (and even Android 4.1). As the Glass ships with Android 4.0.4, the bug was easy to exploit. This exploit was not one that I found, to be clear (unless you count “using Google” ;P): I pulled apart an implementation by@Bin4ryDigit, and adapted it for use on Glass (which required very small modifications to the backup; the entire process of learning the exploit and fixing it took 2 hours).

Saurik later published an article explaining some of the ins and outs of the potential for writing apps for Glass and the exploit he originally took advantage of.

Have you been wondering how long until developers crack into Google Glass to provide full root access and start creating some interesting mods? It appears we might not be too far off with Google intern on the Chrome OS team and hacker Liam McLoughlin confirming on Twitter that a root might be easier than many people think (via selfscreens).

McLoughlin first tweeted that, “There’s a “debug mode” option on Glass that appears to enable ADB access. I got a shell on my Glass :D (no root yet!).” Shortly after it appears he also figured out a root method, tweeting, “looks like root is easy too: reboot-bootloader gives you fastboot oem unlock. There is fun to be had here…”

He isn’t the only one working on a root for Google Glass, hacker @chpwn tweeted today that founder of the Cydia jailbreak store @saurik is in the process of unlocking his Google Glass and Saurik later confirmed: Read more