Google Glass Applications..Are they worth creating?
Google Glass is a wearable computer that looks like a pair of glasses, except it has a small prism display that projects images to the wearer’s right eye. The device offers much of the same functionality as smartphones, allowing people to watch movies, check emails, take photos and record audio and video. Unlike smartphones, however, the device is easily accessible. Glass wearers who want to, say, watch a video clip, need not pull out a phone out of their pockets.
Developing apps for Google’s Android is usually smooth as glass. Developing for Glass? Not so smooth. This blog will take you through some barriers that only Glassware developers encounter. Developers of Google Glass apps, a.k.a. Glassware, are passionately enthusiastic. However, these developers do face unique challenges. They have to rethink what they know about designing for a phone or a laptop, because Glass doesn’t have a keyboard.
Keep a check on your apps.
Glassware developer Alex Gaber says that ‘privacy issues’ are Google’s foremost concern. You know that little light on the glass that lets Joe Glassless know he’s being recorded? It’s there because Google wants it there. In fact, Google banned a third-party Glassware app that turned off the light. (They also banned an app that allows Glass wearers to take a picture with a mere eye-blink. Glass shutterbugs have to use either a voice or a physical command, signaling to subjects that they’re not on candid camera.)
Approval can take months.
Android developers know, as the app gets created, you are done, it’s live! On the other hand, iOS developers have to wait about seven exhausting days to hear whether they have Apple’s seal of approval for the App store. But Glassware’s wait time can be really tough to handle. According to Gaber, “It can take five months to get approved.”
All work and no pay.
An estimation suggests 40,000 to 55,000 pairs of Glass in the world—with more to come. That’s a nice chunk of potential revenue for the eager developer who gets in on the ground up (without resorting to enslaving PCs to mine bitcoin).Except that Google won’t let developers charge for Glassware. Those contributions to Glass are just that: a contribution. All Glassware work is currently pro bono. Considering the plans that Google have for Glass, that’s a lot of money developers won’t be getting.
Warning: No selling your own apps.
Glassware developer Yosun Chang said, “Software developers, especially indies, have always used their own websites as a way to sell their own software. This goes as far back as pre-smartphone app days, classic desktop apps.” But when it comes to Glass, Google isn’t having any of that. Chang said, “You’re actually not allowed to sell your own apps on your website, even using all Google services from Google Wallet to Analytics to AppEngine. When I tried selling a simple shooter game I made on Glass, my API keys were banned last October.”
Glass can be a must have before you start developing.
Although you can develop for Glassware without Glass, thanks to its operating system —an add-on to the existing Android OS that allows developers to use the usual Android development tools—there are still. Even with an emulator, Chang says, “Your font may be legible on your computer, but on Glass, with the difference being projected in front of your eye, the look and feel might be different.” That means you have to wear it if you want to share it. Luckily for the people who don’t have access to Glass, or just plain can’t afford it, “The user community has stepped up to provide emulation-like services, and there are people who created emulators for the mirror API,” Firstenberg says.
All of your hard work can go in vain.
Udell said, “There are two sorts of Glassware: the mirror API, a web-based API that has been around for a year and is far more mature; and the Glass development kit (GDK) that they just released earlier is in a state of flux.” Udall is of course working on a GDK-based app—and right now, Google isn’t accepting those apps into its official MyGlass list.
Fistenberg explains Google’s reasoning: “We know that the foundation that Glass is built on in the software level is going to be changing at some point in the near future. Google don’t want apps in the [MyGlass list] that will break in the next release. Not they may break. They will break. “We can be working on something, and tomorrow they release an update, and everything we’re working on can be changed. It’s an exciting time to be a Glass developer, but it’s also challenging.”
As Firstenberg points out, “Glass is still very much in its infancy,” and so is development. And everyone anticipates growing pains.
Intense thought for each interaction
Firstenberg, who says that most Glass interactions happen in five seconds or less, says Glass is much more personal than a cell phone. “It’s on your face. It’s very immediate and very direct.” While he can ignore email on his cell phone, “If it’s in my face it’s more of an interruption. As a developer you need to manage how the user is going to deal with it and not interrupt as often.”
Finding Google Glass info is not as easy as it may seem.
There are, of course, unofficial apps. But if you’re looking for more, you may have to look harder: As Gaber put it, “Every time I search for Glassware on Google, it comes up with a Bed, Bath, and Beyond registry.”
Referred From Smartbear