Google Glass ecosystem grows with Twitter, Facebook and CNN apps

At Google I/O, company talks about upcoming development kit, plans for streaming video

Google is working to build out the app ecosystem for its upcoming Glass, showing off work today at Google I/O from partners like Twitter, Facebook, CNN and Elle.

Company execs barely mentioning the futuristic, computerized eyeglasses during the conference keynote yesterday. But today's first Glass developer session was overflowing with developers eager to learn more about the technology. Glass is getting a lot of attention from attendees at Google I/O, the company's annual developer conference being held in San Francisco this week.

Timothy Jordan, a senior developer advocate at Google for Project Glass, led the first session today and quickly noted that Google is building a Glass Development Kit (GDK). (He did not specify when it would be ready for release.)

Jordan called the GDK, which will have a native API, a work in progress and asked the developers to tell Google what they want from it and to describe their goals for Glass.

Jordan also said that Glass will have streaming video capability, though, again, he said nothing about when it will be ready.

Google is working hard just to keep up with demand for Glass, even though Eric Schmidt, Google's executive chairman, recently said that the technology won't be ready for official release until next year.

At this point, Google is still trying to supply developers who signed up to receive early versions of Glass at the 2012 Google I/O conference.

The approximately 8,000 people who signed up to get Glass prototypes via Google's #ifIhadGlass program this spring are also still waiting.

Even so, Google was ready to show off a list of app partners.

Twitter, for instance, has created a Google Glass experience that enables the user to post tweets, get and respond to direct messages and receive mobile notifications of tweets. The app also allows users to retweet and favorite tweets right from Glass.

Facebook's Glassware enables users to share the photos they take with Glass on the social network, as well as write and post captions for them. Jordan noted that Glass uses can share their photos publicly or privately on Facebook.

CNN, like the New York Times, Elle magazine and Evernote, also has its own Glassware.

CNN has designed its app to not only send Glass users news alerts but also to allow them to designate what kind of news they want and how many alerts they get each day. Users also can read news or watch news video on Glass.

"They're doing fine with their ecosystem," said Brian Blau, an analyst with Gartner, Inc. "If you jump out too early with the product and you don't have that developer ecosystem and that momentum, it's a problem. You have to have that support or it's a tough product to launch. There's a lot of anticipation. There's a lot of hope from people."

Blau added that he hopes Google takes its time with Glass and doesn't rush it out the door.

"There's no real imperative there," he said. "They have the luxury of time. Now they have to manage all these expectations, especially when they have a product that has the potential to be overhyped in a really big way."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at  @sgaudin, on Google+ or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

See more by Sharon Gaudin on Computerworld.com.

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