Google Glass earbuds

Google Glass actually is a decent little music player. OK, insofar as $1,500 face-mounted wearables go. The official Google Play Music Glassware app was made available on Dec. 2, along with $85 stereo earbuds that plug into Glass' USB port. 

Do the math, and that's damned near $1,600 to do what your phone and a $100 pair of headphones could accomplish. But that's not really the point. This is The Future we're talking about here.

So, we strap on and plug in.

Google's $85 stereo Glass earbuds aren't cheap, let's just get that out of the way. But neither was Glass. But you get a much better experience when you're using them. As important as the mono-earbud that came with v.2 of Google Glass might have been, these stereo guys are that much better.

Google Glass earbuds

You get white earbuds out of the box. But Google also throw in four pairs of color backs — blue, brown, black and red. Definitely a cooler experience, and a nice piece of personalization, but I'd worry a little about someone thinking I'd just had a stroke with the red ones in. Swapping out the caps takes just a simple twist.

The fit of the earbuds is pretty good. Not the most comfortable thing in the world, but I think they fit me better than Apple's earbuds, which have been notoriously bad for me. Still, I'd prefer something like my old Bose. That's not in the cards right now, however, because these connect via microUSB and not a 3.5mm jack.

Google Glass music

Playing music is a pretty simple affair. Just load up the Google Play Music Glassware app, say "OK, Glass — listen to ..." and name your tune. Or artist. Or Album. It takes a couple seconds, then the song starts up. The current track lives as a top-level card (hopefully with album art) in the UI. One tap gets you one level down, where you can play/pause, go to the next track, previous track, hop over to Radio, stop playback, and change volume. I'd prefer to see the volume settings a little higher on the list of options, though.

Perhaps most important, of course, is the sound. And it's surprisingly good here. I didn't expect much out of these earbuds — and, again, if I had my druthers I'd go for something a little more comfortable — but there's a decent amount of bass. Highs are crisp and clear. The overall sound is decently full — not great, and it thins out some if you crank the volume.

Google Glass earbudsGoogle Glass earbuds

Finally, there's the issue of battery. Google doesn't specifically list battery capacity on Glass — it says one day, which is generous — so you definitely feel any continuous use. I listened to Pearl Jam's latest from front to back (ask your parents what that means, kids). The 46 minutes of tunes took about 23 percentage points of battery off my Glass. Maybe not as much as I'd feared — not having the display on certainly helps — but that's still almost a quarter of the device's lifespace before recharging.

And that, in a nutshell, is listening to music on Google Glass. It's not some transformative musical experience. It just works. And it works pretty well.


Reader comments

Google Glass as a music player: Sounds pretty good, but it's also tough on battery


A friend of mine has three invites, but I just can't drop $1500 on Glass. I'm usually the first one to try everything new in tech. My coworkers are shocked I haven't walked in with glass, yet.

Picking mine up on Saturday, was debating adding these but this affirmed I made a good choice to save 85 bucks.
Yea 1500 is steep but it is an experience and there is hope Google upgrades us to latest glass when it's improved again.
It was hard for me to pull the trigger on it but I think the experience alone will be worth it.

BTW great article and in glad you covered battery life usage.

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I hope they release a consumer/ price friendly version of glass soon. Only way I will be able to get it lol. Just cant justify spending 1500 on tech that I know will be better in a few months if not years.

I think casting from these is likely to be more compelling than using them as a music player. That doesn't work yet, does it?

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I got mine yesterday and, granted, I was super excited and I was wearing them constantly trying different things, including 30 minutes of hangouts, lots of pictures and video recording, and some google music. I had to charge them three times in the space of six hours (plus, the touchpad got quite warm).

I had the same experience. After two days the battery life improved IMMENSELY. Make sure you charge them overnight.

I'm actually a bit surprised at how good the new headphones sound. Only been using them for about an hour or so, so I have no take on the battery life yet. The only real drawback I see is that it is a bit difficult to get it to find a particular song by a particular artist on occasion.