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IT & Systems Management

Google Glass goes from eyes to ears with music support, new earbuds

Google Glass users will soon be able to strap on a pair of earbuds and listen to music through their high-tech specs.

Google is adding music playback and song identification features to Glass, similar to what's already available on Android phones. For instance, users can say "OK Glass, Listen to..." followed by the name of an artist, album, song or playlist, to start playing songs in Google Play Music. More playback controls are available using the temple-mounted touchpad.

Users can also identify songs playing in their surroundings by saying "OK Glass, what song is this?"

Hints of music playback appeared in the previous firmware update for Google Glass, but reports by the New York Times and USA Today suggest an imminent arrival for these features. Impatient users can sideload the application file now, as Phandroid points out.

For now, only Google's own Play Music service is supported. Users can either sign up for an "All Access" subscription for $10 per month, or load their own collection onto Google's servers with the Music Manager desktop software. It's unclear whether other music services, such as Pandora and Spotify, will get added to Glass' music lineup.

The music won't sound so great with Glass' bone-conduction speaker, or even the removable mono headphone in the latest hardware revision. To that end, Google will sell a pair of stereo earbuds that plug into the same jack as the mono headphone, with one of the buds wrapping around the user's head. Google told the Times that the earbuds will go on sale later this month for $85.

Google still isn't saying when Glass will become more widely available. Under the "Glass Explorer" program, people can apply to purchase the glasses for a cool $1,500, and current Explorers can now invite up to three other people to buy a pair.

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