Google Releases Glass Development Kit, with Limitations

Google has taken another step toward generating a plentiful supply of apps for its Google Glass headgear. The technology giant has unveiled its Glass Development Kit (GDK), although some developers are expressing disappointment.

The GDK provides tools for developers to work with parts of Glass that were previously inaccessible to them, including the ability to write offline apps and create ones that employ the on-board GPS and accelerometer. There is also now the ability to utilize a Glass wearer's location, to add voice commands into an options menu, and to detect gestures on the unit's touch pad.

But the GDK is still a work in progress, in large part because Glass is. The new GDK provides more support for app development than did the Mirror API, but Google cautions that the GDK is still a preview. The Mirror API, released in April, allows outside services to manage menu items, share content or provide subscription notifications, and there's a Playground with tools for experimentation with content display.

Glass Version of Word Lens

The appetite for apps on this emerging product, now in a limited preview, is evident. As Glass senior developer advocate Timothy Jordan told a Glass hackathon in San Francisco last week, where the GDK was unveiled, over 83 percent of Glass owners have installed an app -- even though app installation to this point has not yet been made easy.

Recently unveiled apps include a Glass version of Word Lens, originally for smartphones, that allows user to point the device's camera at a sign in a foreign language and the words on the sign are magically replaced with words translated into a language of your choice. The Word Lens app is considered one possible model for the apps that might become popular through Glass -- ones that essentially just do their job, assisting the...

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