Developers find '80 new uses' for Google Glasses

Google Glass Foundry (Daniel Gaines Photography and Philip Montgomery)

Google Glass Foundry (Daniel Gaines Photography and Philip Montgomery)

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, Last Updated: 1:02 PM ET

Though what actually went on at the search giant's first official developers' events in San Francisco and New York remain a closely guarded secret, Google has published some information and a number of photos from the events held a few weeks ago.

At the special two-day events, a small handful of developers, who had each already paid $1500 for a developer's edition of Google's Augmented Reality headset, were invited to test the current version of the product and get their first chance to use its Application Programming Interface (API) -- the platform that will help these developers write apps and develop uses and services for the glasses.

Over the course of these workshops the teams of developers built over "80 new ways to use Glass" and, to show its gratitude, Google awarded every developer who demoed an idea with a special edition glass bar engraved with the name "pioneer."

The developers who came up with the best ideas also had the cost of their developer's version of Google Glass refunded.

In a Google+ post, Google developers Timothy Jordan, Sarah Price, Ossama Alami, Jenny Murphy and Alain Vongsouvanh said: "The Glass Foundry was a great opportunity to get our engineers working next to developers...We discovered that we all shared a passion for the future of wearable technology, and the feedback we received is already helping us improve the platform. The whole event was deeply rewarding for our team and the participants seemed to have a great time, too. We hope to have more Glass Foundries in the future."

The post also reveals that everyone at the event has signed a legally binding confidentiality agreement to minimize any potential leaks to the press between now and Google Glass's expected launch in 2014. The fact that a further 80 uses have been identified will be seen as some in the tech community as cause for celebration, but for many, it is still unclear if the device has one clear use -- a single killer application that will make consumers stand in line to buy them.

A device in search of applications

In a recent interview with technology site Pocket Lint, Paul Jacobs, the CEO of Qualcomm, whose processors have become ubiquitous in Android phones and whose technology platform is at the forefront of augemented reality, said that more immersive applications, such as glasses can cause headaches in a large number of users following prolonged use. "The stats are that some percentage of people get a headache from them. I think that any consumer product that's giving a high percentage of people a headache is pretty hard to sell. So, a fully immersive glass is tough," he said.

He also questioned whether consumers would be willing to use a head-mounted device that would force them to refocus their gaze in order to access information rathzer than see it projected seamlessly in front of them: "Will people go for things like Google Glass, where they look down the side? I had a pair of ski goggles -- Zeal goggles -- that did that," he explained. "They were pretty cool, but I got a little distracted."

Even the head of the Google Glass project itself has hinted that the device is a solution to a problem that may not exist.

Speaking to IEEE Spectrum at the beginning of the year, Babak Parviz, admitted that the project is still in flux and the final features are yet to be decided. "We haven't actually talked about specific features. We have mentioned some basic capabilities, like taking a picture and sharing it. We are experimenting with a lot of things. The feature set for the device is not set yet. It is still in flux," he is quoted as saying. He also explained that operation and input were still being developed. Google has experimented with head gestures and with voice commands in order to access features and services but currently operation is via a touchpad located on the side of the device.

However, there is also a suggestion that Google Glass, as it currently stands, is a product in search of a market. When asked if anyone at Google had attempted to develop apps for the device, Parviz responds: "This is a complicated thing. This is not a laptop or a smartphone. It's an entirely new platform. So how people interact with it and what people do with it is totally new territory. We've explored multiple things. We've taken pictures and done search and other things with this device. But we hope that when we ship this to developers, other people will also figure out what this very powerful platform is able to do."


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