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November 07, 2013
Developers, Use Google Glass for its Intended Application!
By: Daniel Kaplan

Nearly everyone in the Wearable Technology community is excited about Google Glass. Glass is “making the pie bigger” for the wearable tech market by bringing some much needed attention to a previously underexposed field. Google might not be the first to proclaim “Eureka!”, but they certainly have been the loudest. Developers can’t wait to get hands-on with this fascinating new technology.

The problem is no one knows what to do with it yet.

A few key points to make about Google Glass:

  1. Glass is a device for updates - Glass natively operates similarly to the way your phone synchs to an email account or to a Twitter account. Updates arrive irregularly, and the existence of a new message on the server does not translate directly to a notification on the phone. The Glass must synch with the account for the notification to arrive – there is no real-time data.

  2. Glass is not [natively] Android – Google has allowed and even encouraged the development community to develop for Android on Glass, but functionality is still limited. Android applications must be actively turned on via a tethered computer with the Android Debugger or through hacks created by the community, (i.e. Launchy).

  3. Glass was built for the Mirror API – The size, functionality, and relative stylishness of this always-on device are incredible – but at the cost of battery life. Android will become viable for this form factor only after battery performance improves. For now, as it minimally consumes battery life, the Mirror API can be a powerful tool in the right applications.

Developers in the Glass community need to rethink the standard mobile model and use Glass for its intended application – in conjunction with the Mirror API. Build server-side applications which monitor real-time processes or events and subsequently notify the user of important aspects. Given this architectural model, the most suitable use cases for a consumer-based Glass application are those which enhance a wearer’s current activities or prepare him for upcoming events.

A few scenarios that come to mind:

  • A fantasy sports score update while watching a game

  • A notification for a meteor shower overhead

  • A traffic update for an upcoming trip

  • A contact info card for the current speaker at a conference

  • A “food ready” notification from a cooking app

Yes, Glass is limited in its functionality. However, it is unlimited in its possibility to personalize and augment the world around us.

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