There's a meme that Google Glass and Google+ are two big products that were downgraded in the company's forever-running keynote. It's easy to entertain the idea that Glass isn't important anymore until you actually look at the developer sessions. Yes, Google Glass was hard to find in the company's keynote, but the device's footprints abound in the developer sessions.
Consider the following before Glass is written off:
Glass on Tuesday added more RAM, added hardware updates and improved battery life. Before that announcement, Glass outlined new Glassware. There's a steady cadence of updates about Glass.
Google said Wednesday that Glass will support Android Wear, the company's vehicle to unify smartwatches, smartphones and Glass. Developers have the chance to use one platform to hit a bevy of wearables.
The I/O developer powwow on Wednesday had two sessions that were Glass-heavy. Sure there was a lot of talk about smartwatches, but the presenters all had Glass, which will support Android Wear notifications, stacked pages and replies. Timothy Jordan, staff developer advocate at Google, said these notifications will be available in a Glass build in the next few months.
Will Glass ultimately be a mainstream product? It's unclear, but Glass' value may be derived from getting developers into the wearable market and influencing Google's thinking about the category overall.
The current thinking from Google seems to revolve around Glass as part of the wearable equation not the answer.
Let's get real: There are a lot of doubts about Glass and smartwatches. Neither seems to fulfill the promise that wearable computing can provide richer experiences where you don't get lost in a device. The technology in both cases is the center of the universe. Until the technology adds value and yet allows you to enjoy life wearables are an experiment.
In many respects, Google doesn't care what wearable platform wins. Google cares about the cloud, its data and context being the connective tissue that comingles your life with the company. Rest assured there are a lot of ads that'll go with that connective tissue.
Bottom line: For a device that's allegedly AWOL, Glass sure seems to be sprinkled throughout I/O a lot.
These slides illustrate the thinking about Glass with Google developers elaborating in the videos below: