Google takes wraps off first wave of Glass apps

Google shows off how its networked spectacles navigate messaging and apps in light of its limited screen real estate.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Google has taken the wraps off a handful of apps for its Google Glass to show how they'll work with the forthcoming networked spectacles.

The first apps to be integrated with features in Glass include the New York Times, Evernote, Skitch and Path, which Google Glass developer advocate Timothy Jordan showcased at South by Southwest in Texas yesterday.

Delegates got a look at how the device — which can be controlled by voice, touch or gestures — will work with a number of apps, with Jordan showing how touching the screen activates the interface and swiping down on the glass turns it off.

Attendees were also shown how Glass deals with email: when an email notification appears in the screen, a user can verbally dictate a reply and instruct Glass to send. Similar to a smartphone, while the user is dictating their message, a pulsating microphone icon appears beneath the text of the dictation. And, as a way around Glass' limited screen space, the wearer can have Glass read out an email message.

Jordan also demonstrated sharing an image captured with Glass with an Android device running Evernote's Skitch, an app that lets users annotate images. Similarly, images from Path can be delivered as a notification directly to the spectacles. 

A news application, built by Google according to the New York Times, pulls down headlines and photographs from popular articles from the publisher, but steers clear of showing the full text.

Jordan advised developers to consider the form factor when building applications for the device, noting they should avoid too many notifications and develop specifically for Glass rather than porting existing apps, according to the New York Times Bits blog.

Google is moving swiftly on the Glass project and the latest peak at what is possible comes ahead of Google's annual I/O conference on 13 March. In late January, it held two Glass 'hackathons' in New York and San Francisco to give developers a taste of the its Mirror API and more recently made 8,000 of the $1,500 devices available to the public in a competition.

The apps showed off at SXSW come alongside other research projects, such as a system that could be used by Glass to identify people in public spaces by what clothes they wear. 

Editorial standards