Google Glass, Taken Seriously (with predictions!)

In my last post I gave a mostly factual, but seriously facetious account of my 10 weeks with Google Glass.  Lest  you think me totally unserious, it seemed wise to post a followup that informs as well as amuses.

Mirror API

Mirror API, just for background, is a server-side API for injecting HTML-ish cards into the UI of a user’s Glass.  That’s it.  You write a web application, deploy it to Google’s AppEngine, and that web application calls Google’s Mirror API to put cards of your design into the timeline.  A Mirror app does NOT run on the Glass as far as you, the developer, are concerned.

The Mirror API is limited, seriously limited. Having thought really hard about it for lo these 10 weeks I have gradually come to understand the thinking behind it but that doesn’t mean I agree. There are uses for it.  Consider, for example, test results in the medical field.  You’re a clinician running around as they all do, but as a test result comes in, it pops onto a card in your timeline, you can click down into it to acknowledge receipt or flag for followup.  As a user experience I think that case makes sense.

The only problem with the Mirror API and the timeline metaphor is that right now it’s an all-or-nothing proposition.  You can’t do anything (official) on Glass that’s not Mirror.  I can see a rework of the timeline such that it’s cooperative with other apps, a timeline View that you can incorporate in your app.  Even a required timeline View that, as an app developer, you have no control over would probably work.  But as a walled garden Mirror doesn’t work.

The Future of Glass

220px-CarnacSo Mirror API is a dead issue.  Google has to figure out how to enable useful apps without throwing away its emotional investment in Mirror. There are strong indications that they already have figured it out and are just rolling it out VERY SLOWLY.

With that as background, let’s put a stake in the ground and make some predictions so that you, my fans, will know exactly what is not going to happen:

  • September update that includes a “hole in the timeline” that allows side-loaded native apps to be invoked and run without jumping through hoops.  Could be as simple as making native apps voice-invokable via the Ok Glass menu.  This update will still require side-loading to get native apps on there.
  • November 15 limited-access trial of a Glass app store
  • February 15, 2014 GA date for the device and app store
  • Only available online through Google
  • Retail price of $299 (h/t to @wareflo who reminded me I forgot to predict price)
  • App store submission includes actual Glass-certification process a la the iTunes app store “black hole of approval”. Much closer scrutiny of apps adherence to usability guidelines and astronomical initial rejection rate.
  • Number of apps in the Glass app store on opening: 5,000

Well, I’ve stuck my neck out.  What are YOUR predictions for the future of Glass?