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.
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.
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.
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.
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