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Monday, March 11, 2013

Google Shows Off Sample Apps for Glasses

AUSTIN, TEX. â€" Google glasses are everywhere here at South by Southwest. But ask a wearer to try them on or take a photo and you’re quickly rebuffed.

Then, on Monday, Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate at Google for Project Glass, gave a demonstration of the glasses to a packed room at the conference.

He showed how eye movements controlled the device; looking up activates the screen and gentle head movements helped scroll through various screens. He took a photograph of the crowd and performed a voice Google search on how to say thank you in Japanese. He said the answer aloud; it was emitted from the device at a volume low enough that it was inaudible to attendees, but loud enough so he could hear it.

In addition to the demo, Mr. Jordan showed a few sample applications that could be used by people wearing Google Glass.

Mr. Jordan showed off an example of a news application built by Google that pulls in headlines and photographs from popular New York Times news article â€" not the full text of the article, which would be difficult for a Google Glass wearer to read through on the device.

He also showed off an e-mail application and an integration with Path that were easily navigated and controlled through eye movements to read content and write updates.

Mr. Jordan had several points of advice for developers who are interested in creating applications for Glass. First, he said it was important to design for Glass, rather than try to port over existing apps. He also said that since the glasses are worn on a user’s face, developers needed to be mindful of keeping applications timely and simple.

Developers should avoid bombarding the wearer with unnecessary updates and information, he said. For example, a user might like to read an e-mail marked urgent that arrives while he or she is away from the desk, but not necessarily newsletters and e-mail alerts from coupon services.

Mr. Jordan also advised developers to avoid the unexpected. “Be tran! sparent and give them functionality they expect,” he said. “You want to avoid anything that would jar or upset them.”