Google Glass GDK

Google Glass is something of a popular subject here at AndroidMeter (if you couldn’t tell with four of us wearing it around everyday) so when Google releases some huge update to the platform, we tend to get extremely excited. The latest to come out of the Delaware company in the form of Glass news is that Google is finally allowing developers to get access to the GDK (Glass development kit). This is HUGE news when coming from a developer’s standpoint because it opens up the flood gates for applications (or Glassware for Glass) to grow in functionality and usefulness.

Since the Google event Foundry where select developers were given early access to the product to develop on, Glass Explorers have had to develop on a platform called the Mirror API which is a cloud based service where your Glassware lives on a server and then sends information to your Glass through Google’s servers. Developers were also able to modify and build applications like they do when developing for Android phones but it was not a clean process and lacked the full potential of the headset.

GDK Sneak Peek

With the release of the GDK, developers can now build Glassware that can control hardware aspects of Glass like its gyroscope, built-in GPS, and much more. Along with the added hardware functionality, Glassware built with the GDK will be able to work on Glass without the need of an internet connection. Also, when the user pulls up one of these newly built Glassware, they are greeted with something that Mirror API Glassware were just not able to do: full immersion. This capability allows the user to enter a Glassware just like they do with their phones. When the Glassware is activated using a voice command (the GDK Glassware creates itself a new vocal command in the ‘Ok Glass’ menu) the user is met with the application taking over their entire display (not just adding a card bundle to their timeline).

To demonstrate the full capability of the GDK, Google announced several new Glassware that sever developers had made. One of the most mind-blowing of the new Glassware is called Word Lens. What Word Lens does is allows you to translate text (from a sign or other display) and display it in another language right on your Glass display.  I love this because it is all happening in real-time; the translated text will keep the original color, font, and angle of the foreign language that it is taken from without sending the picture to some server and then bouncing the answer back at the user. As of now, the Glassware allows you to translate from Spanish, French, Italian, German, and Portuguese to English and from English to all of the given languages.

Below is an example of what I see in my Glass prism after running the Glassware and it translating the text:

Word Lens for Glass

Along side of Word Lens for Glass, Google unveiled a fully functioning game for Glass called Spellista built by Glu. This game is the first GDK and fully immersive game for Glass as it allows the user to use the gyroscope and accelerometer  built into the device to navigate the game screen. Within the game, users are greeted to a themed environment (under-the-sea, baseball teams, ect.) and are tasked with taking the mixed up letters on the screen and spelling out a word that relates to the theme. The user selects the letters by moving their head so that a circle lands on the letter. Full review coming soon! :)

Unlike the Mirror API, the Glass development kit ‘sneak peek’ can be downloaded as part of the SDK under the Android 4.0.3 API 15.  This is open to anyone who wants to dive into the Glassware development scene without any limitations.

Download GDK in SDK Manager


You can also find out more about the GDK here.

Below is the official video from Google Developers about the release of the GDK ‘sneak peek’ along with demonstration of the new GDK Glassware. I recommend watching the entire 38 minute video just to take in all of the Googliness involved in making such an amazing product and development environment.

Are you planning to start making Glassware for Google Glass? Let us know in the comments because we at AndroidMeter and AMStudio are started to dive deep into the GDK and create our own Glassware for the masses to enjoy. Stay tuned for more from Google and us!.

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Justin Duino

Justin Duino

(Founder | Editor-in-Chief) - I am currently a student at the University of Nevada, Reno getting my degree in Computer Science.I have been fortunate to work with some brilliant people in the technology industry and plan to continue so for the rest of my life.I am currently using a Nexus 5, a Nexus 7 (2013), and a Nexus 10. Additionally, I am one of the first Glass Explorers with Google Glass and loving it!
Justin Duino