Google's smart jacket is learning to be more useful for non-cyclists too

It'll even let you know when your Uber is near
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Last year, Google and Levi's launched their co-created smart Commuter Trucker jacket - Google's tech, Levi's design - previously known as Project Jacquard. It served as a good example of how casual clothing could be "smart" without being obtrusive, but it didn't do a lot. Swiping the cuff to skip a track or get directions were cool, sometimes useful, features - but we wanted more.

That's now starting to happen as Google is pushing out a new update that brings more features to the jacket. The first new feature lets you connect your Lyft or Uber account with the app so the jacket will light up and vibrate to let you know your ride is arriving. You can also brush inwards on the cuff to hear details about your ride, which are played out through the phone or connected headphones.

Read this: The best smart clothing

The jacket was primarily pitched to cyclists who probably won't find this very helpful, but it shows Google is thinking about wider use cases - even if they're quite specific.

For example, the update also adds Bose Aware Mode which, if you own Bose's QC30 or QC35 headphones, will let you activate or deactivate the noise cancelling feature. That's pretty handy for when you want to block out the outside world, or let it in when you need to keep an ear on surrounding traffic, but you're limited in headphone choice.

The third feature is more generally useful: with a touch of the cuff you can now drop a pin to mark a location. You can also edit the location or share it from the app. That's something we can definitely see ourselves using.

Last year, Google's lead on Jacquard, Ivan Poupyrev, told us that the company had a long list of featured the team wanted to bring to the jacket. We're pleased to see that's actually happening, and that Google isn't leaving the jacket out to dry. It's not revealing sales numbers yet, and while we can't imagine the jacket has sold in huge numbers, it remains an interesting way for Google to experiment in wearables beyond smartwatches.

The 1.2 update will be appearing in the app over the coming week, said Google.

Google's smart jacket is learning to be more useful for non-cyclists too

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Hugh Langley


Now at Business Insider, Hugh originally joined Wareable from TechRadar where he’d been writing news, features, reviews and just about everything else you can think of for three years.

Hugh is now a correspondent at Business Insider.

Prior to Wareable, Hugh freelanced while studying, writing about bad indie bands and slightly better movies. He found his way into tech journalism at the beginning of the wearables boom, when everyone was talking about Google Glass and the Oculus Rift was merely a Kickstarter campaign - and has been fascinated ever since.

He’s particularly interested in VR and any fitness tech that will help him (eventually) get back into shape. Hugh has also written for T3, Wired, Total Film, Little White Lies and China Daily.

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