Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Google Glass Will Expand Its Features Into Music

On Tuesday, Google will unveil a set of features for Glass to search for songs, scan through saved playlists and listen to music in high fidelity. This can all be done while a user is wearing the lensless frames, which respond to vocal commands and have a small computer and transparent projection screen above the right eye.

When Glass boots up, it will display “listen to” among its standard voice commands — like “take a picture” and search for a term on Google — and let a wearer name a song or artist and then stream that music through Play, Google’s media and apps hub. Users can link their Play accounts to have access to playlists and song recommendations based on what they have listened to in the past.

Google is also introducing a set of earbud headphones designed for Glass, which will be available by the end of the month for $85. Sound Search, a feature introduced to Glass two months ago, acts like Shazam or SoundHound by identifying a song playing in the vicinity.

Aside from helping Glass to market itself, the features could help publicize Google’s streaming music offerings, including Google Play Music All Access, its Spotify-like subscription service, which have been slow to gain traction with consumers. A high-end technology product with a connection to music is already seen as a marketing angle with potential. The music industry is eagerly awaiting Beats Music, a subscription service from the makers of Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.

For now, only Google’s music services are available on Glass, but others are expected to be introduced.

Part of Google’s pitch for Glass is that its voice commands and easily visible display will free users from staring down at their smartphones all the time. Young Guru, a record producer and D.J. who has worked with stars like Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Rihanna and Ludacris, agreed wholeheartedly with that assessment.

A promotional video for Glass shows Young Guru using the eyewear to order food in Spanish, and to identify a Latin-flavored song playing overhead, tracking down a vinyl record of the song and then spinning the record in the studio.

“It’s an immense timesaver, and a great tool to make the world that much cooler, and realize some of the dreams we had as kids,” Young Guru said in an interview on Monday.

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