Google has (finally) released its Glass Development Kit to the world (of Glass developers). While it's a welcome bit of relief for those who had previously been working to develop Glass apps using the company's far more restrictive Mirror API, it appears that Google has yet to truly let the dam burst as far as Glass' capabilities go. And some developers, it seems, are a wee bit antsy.
According to a report from CNET , the GDK — a preview, we (and Google) note, not the final Glass Development Kit that will ultimately make its way into eager developers' hands — is a bit limited as a result of Google's hesitation toward allowing developers to do too much, too soon, on a piece of wearable consumer technology that's still very much in its infancy. Heck, the entire "wearable technology" world is just as new, and Google isn't quite ready to let its industrious Glass developers go crazy with the not-even-finalised hardware.
Case in point: No facial recognition. One would think that facial recognition would be a pretty important part of the experience related to digital glasses that one wears on one's noggin. And we're sure it is; it's just not, at this point, an area that developers can explore. If Google changes its policies, developers will be able to start working on apps that allow for this kind of a feature. That, or they'll have to build facial-recognition apps (contrary to Google's policies) and release them on a third-party app store at some point in the future.
Also on the list? Geotagging. It's not that Glass lacks geotagging capabilities; developers are fully allowed to access this aspect of the hardware's capabilities. It's just that, right now, there can be a delay of up to ten minutes for one's GPS-based location to register on Glass. And that all but removes the usefulness of apps that, say, help you remember where you parked your car.
Google has yet to really create a way by which developers can monetise their apps as well. Advertising remains banned for those developing any kind of "Glassware" app, be it through the Google Mirror API or the GDK itself. And with no official Glassware app store yet created, it remains to be seen just how developers might be able to attach a price tag to their creations – or find some way to monetise them within the app itself.
Above all else, Glass seems to lack a "killer app" thus far. Admittedly, it's still quite premature in the Glass lifecycle for a super-innovative app to emerge — if that's even what's destined to happen in the grand scheme of glass development.
"As the device gets more personal, it's less about killer apps, and more about the personally awesome app," says Glass developer Brandyn White in an interview with CNET.
Of course, tell that to the creators of the Glass app Wordlens — a fun little app that takes text you're viewing, removes it from the screen (magic!), and replaces it with text in any language that you want. As far as on-the-fly translation goes, we'd much rather have that as part of our vacation package than, say, one of those tiny little language books.