Gadgets

Google’s next big Glass update kills video calls — adds KitKat & better battery life

Above: 37 percent think Apple will launch a Google Glass competitor in 2014.

Image Credit: Flickr: giuseppe.costantino

Google is dropping one of the most interesting features from Google Glass in its next update.

The company announced that it will nix video calls in an update coming later this week because the feature simply wasn’t good enough.

On the bright side, the update will also finally upgrade Glass’s software to Android KitKat, which should improve battery life and make the device more stable.

Google opened up Glass purchases to all consumers for today only — a sign that it either needs to clear out stock or that it still needs more people to figure out mainstream uses for Glass.

“We hold ourselves to high standards for the features that we build, and video calls aren’t living up to these standards,” the Glass team wrote on Google+ last night.

“Explorers have told us so directly, and fewer than 10 percent of them use video calls. For this reason, we’ve made the hard decision to remove video calls from Glass until the experience is better.”

The feature allowed you to make Google Hangouts video calls with any of your friends. I’ve tested Glass briefly, but I never had a chance to fully explore video calling, so I’m not sure what exactly led Google to drop the feature. It’s unclear when video calling will return, but Google says it’s seeing plenty of developers working on other video-streaming solutions for Glass.

Among other additions, the new Glass update also lets you send photo replies in Hangouts, groups photos together in bundles so they’re easier to navigate, and sorts your voice command prompts by how often you use them.

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