Google has revealed the first set of apps you will find on Glass. The search giant showed off the apps for The New York Times, Evernote, Path, as well as some core Google features like search, translation and Gmail. The Verge reported from the Project Glass developer panel at SXSW Interactive that the apps hint at the UI direction Google is taking with Glass. For one, the Google Now influence is very apparent, thanks to the use of cards here as well.
Google has four design principles it wants developers to use as guidelines when working on apps for Glass. These are: “design for Glass,” “don't get in the way,” “keep it timely,” and “avoid the unexpected.”
Initially, Glass will be available in five colours
Even Google knows that having a constantly beeping HUD on your person can be grating and so wants to give you a limited amount of information. The NYT app, for example, can be set up such that only breaking news will be pushed out to you. Gmail can also be configured to only show notifications for 'Important' e-mails, so it would be a good idea to start using the Priority Inbox regularly and fine tune it for Glass if you're going to buy one. Once a notification is received, the content can be read back to the user or in the case of an alert from Gmail or Path, users can reply to it right from Glass.
You control apps, as we have already seen, through a combination of head gestures, voice commands and touchpad input. For example, if you look up while using the New York Times app, it will show you headlines, photos and story text. Tapping on the touch panel will enable the text-to-speech function and the app will read out the news article to you. Swiping on the side touchpad is used for further navigation, like looking at the Share menu in apps like Evernote or Path.
Overall, the apps look clean and take the Google design philosophy forward while adding new rules to the game. The guidelines give us a better idea of what sort of apps to expect. Obviously, playing Temple Run on your Glass might not be a great idea just yet.
“Keep it timely” ties-in in a big way with Google Now. Just like the Android app, Glass is all about giving you information you want/need at the right time and in the right place. Google Now does it well and we expect a lot of that functionality to be baked into the Glass. “Design for Glass” is pretty self-explanatory, but we reckon Google wants developers to really get immersed in the experience before bringing their apps out. Some things that worked well for smartphones might not translate as well for Glass. Google wants developers to see the difference in user experience as well as the richer possibilities Glass presents.
“Avoid the unexpected” sounds vague, but hints at curated content only for Glass, or implores developers to not give users a shocking image or concept to grasp. This is also something that “Don’t get in the way” talks about. Obviously, Glass is ever-present when worn by a user, so it’s best for apps to enhance the wearing experience rather than bombard them with information.
Google’s API for Glass, Mirror API, is still in the early stages, but once it is released developers will be able to start building apps for the wearable. The company hasn't said when the API will be released.
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