To use text messaging and navigation on Google Glass, users currently have to pair it with an Android phone and install the Glass companion app on their phones. This will change very soon, however, one of the Google representatives in its New York office told me when I picked up my own unit yesterday afternoon. Glass, the Google employee told me, will soon be able to handle these features independent of the device the user has paired it to (and maybe even independent of the Glass companion app).
While Glass will happily work with any iPhone over Bluetooth or use any Wi-Fi connection to get online, iPhone users are currently unable to get turn-by-turn directions through Glass – one of its killer features. Those direction are pretty useful while you are navigating a new city and they do show off the power of location-based apps on Glass, but the software will currently balk if you ask it to give you directions while it’s connected to an iPhone.
In this context, it’s worth noting that one of the myths surrounding Glass is that it is independently connected to the Internet. That’s not true, however. Instead, Glass users need to have a tethering plan for their phones to connect Glass to the Internet. In the eyes of your wireless provider, Glass is just another device that uses your phone’s personal hotspot feature. This means Glass shouldn’t have to depend on any application that runs on your phone, so the original restriction of making navigation and SMS dependent on the companion app was always a bit odd.
While Glass has a built-in compass, it doesn’t have its own GPS receiver and depends on the phone to provide it with location data. It looks like this was just a function of the beta state of Glass, however, and that we can expect it to soon be fully functional, no matter the device it uses to connect to the Internet.