Delivering information via Google Glass – or really any wearable technology — is a challenge. You have to be able to clearly convey your message in a way that can be consumed by either glancing down at your wrist or up at your Glass display. Because of this challenge, Google has been working closely with several developers so their apps can be seen as golden examples of how to pass on information to users. Those apps have been released today, in advance of the expected open release of the GDK for Google Glass.
Google’s Glassware catalog now includes weather alerts, an official Wall Street Journal app, and the RSS startup Winkfeed. Each of these are geared at giving you glaces of information that you can either ignore or interact with discretely. Weather alerts, for example, will offer you a glimpse at emergency weather in your location. The alert included a map of the affected area and the ability to have the alert read to you if you’re unable to stop and stare at the screen. Winkfeed, on the other hand, tackles the incredibly difficult challenge of bringing RSS to Glass by starting you off with just the title of the article and giving you controls from there.
Displaying RSS feeds on Glass could be a miserable experience if done the wrong way, but the Winkfeed team seems to have figured out the right balance. Instead of getting notifications on Glass for every single article posted to your feed, their service allows you to choose what gets shown and when. On top of this, the system monitors for popular articles and makes them a priority when delivering articles in order to make sure you’ve got the most interesting information first. Instead of asking you to read the entire article on Glass, you’re offered the ability to save to Pocket so the article can be enjoyed later.
Google also included Hangouts to Glass with this release, which allows you to continue conversations using your voice. Conversations show up as bundled cards, and allow you to start video calls from the conversation. There’s also now the ability to upload video from Glass directly to YouTube, with controls that stop you from pushing video directly to your public space. Both of these apps require a little more physical interaction than you typically see from Glass apps, but for some users they are highly requested services.
Now that the doors have been opened, it seems the Glassware list will grow a great deal larger soon. The challenge now is to make sure there aren’t issues that crop up regarding Glass battery life due to rogue apps. This kind of maintenance gets tricky on wearable devices, which is another big reason Google has treated the Glassware store so differently from the Google Play Store.