Google Glass update doesn’t play nice with Android Wear

JC Torres - Oct 20, 2014
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Google Glass update doesn’t play nice with Android Wear

Google has just released updates to both its MyGlass companion app and the Google Glass XE22 firmware itself that adds the most requested feature of mirroring your phone’s notifications. While it is a welcome change that makes the smart eyepiece a lot more useful for some people, it seems that the implementation hit a little snag. Aside from disabling notifications on an Android Wear smartwatch paired with the same phone, which is an explicit “feature”, it apparently, hopefully accidentally, cuts off most, if not all, communication between the smartwatch and the smartphone as well.

Google Glass’ new notification feature, when enabled, warns users that if an Android phone and an Android Wear smartwatch are all present, the smartwatch will no longer mirror smartphone notifications as normal, with Glass basically hoarding all the notifications to itself. This was probably by design to lessen the redundancy or annoyance of having the same notification mirrored in all three devices. With Glass being the “always in your face” device, it is somewhat reasonable that it should get top priority.

That by itself might already be a bit debatable, as some might want to still glance at their smartwatch instead, especially for cases where Glass is still connected but not worn, for privacy or whatever reasons. But that isn’t the only problem. According to Glass Explorer Keith I Myers, the feature actually practically disables the connection between the smartwatch and the smartphone, making functionality such as controlling music or even Google Now unavailable from the smartwatch. Everything, it seems, has been taken over by Google Glass. Getting notifications back on the smartwatch isn’t an easy matter either. First users must disable the functionality from the MyGlass app and then they will have to pair with the smartwatch again. Not exactly a seamless and simple experience.

Google has seen the complaint and has said it would be looking into it, but that it’s not as easy as it sounds and might take a few months, which is a rather discouraging estimate. That said, properly addressing the notification mirroring problem is admittedly tricky. Getting the same notification in multiple places can be quickly annoying. But in this case where not all devices are immediately accessible at the same time, perhaps Google can be forgiven if it erred on duplicating notifications instead.

SOURCE: +Keith I Myers


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