Starting with November 21st, Google Glass developers can finally enjoy and test the device’s development kit, as Google has finally made it available. As you probably know already, everyone has been working so far in Google’s Mirror API, a platform way more limited than the newly released GDK. Don’t get all your hopes up, though; this version is also limited, just not as limited as the one before. Google still has some testing to do before showing the world what the Glass is truly capable of.
The GDK version available is not the final one, it is actually the first platform of this kind and if everything goes well with the beta GDK, Google will probably release the final version (or another version) of the platform sooner. The reasons for which Google is playing safe with revealing the Glass’s software are understandable, considering that not only the Glass is a new type of device but the wearable industry itself is still counting its first steps in the world. In the wrong hands, the device can also be used for breaking some privacy limits and that cannot be allowed. So, in order to make sure that there are less to none opportunities to do so, they have released a limited the GDK (for now).
Take for instance the long discussions regarding Glass’s facial recognition feature and the whole fuss about it. Google is now denying access to this feature until the security policies on the matter are established. We don’t believe this to be something the world would be prepared to handle at the moment, so until Google will add the necessary policies for developing the facial recognition feature, the access is restricted to that part of the platform. However, this doesn’t mean a developer couldn’t work independently for such an application, it’s just that he wouldn’t be able to use it now.
Another feature in a similar position is the Geotagging feature. At the moment, the Glass takes about ten minutes or more to locate a user’s GPS, and unfortunately that drains the functionality of such a feature. In ten minutes you could be finding the car yourself and not need the Glass to do it for you anymore. Just as in the first case, every developer is free to work on this feature, as the hardware capabilities allow it, but we’re not sure it’s worth it in the present.
The downside is that developing Glass apps is a long term investment because developers cannot yet monetize their creations. However, we are expecting for Google to come up with a Glass app store and then we’ll see how every developer evaluates his work. Until then, you should also know that the advertising is prohibited on GDK as well as on the first Google Mirror API.
During an interview for CNET, Brandyn Whit, a Glass developersays that this device won’t need a killer app to emerge, even though one might come up at some point (see Worlens – a fast translation app). The Glass isn’t about killer apps but rather “personally awesome apps”.