Google Glass team developer outreach leaves international coders sour

Jan 16, 2013
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Google Glass team developer outreach leaves international coders sour

Google has begun courting developers hoping to cook up apps for its Glass wearable headset, kicking off a series of Developer Update videos, but frustrating many with its decision to make the Foundry program US-only. Billed as introducing the Mirror API which Glass uses to bridge its wearable with web apps, the new video touches briefly on what languages the headset will play nicely with, as well as highlighting the upcoming developer events in New York and San Francisco. It's that US focus which has many coders annoyed, however, given the appetite for Glass elsewhere in the world.

According to the Glass Developer Relations team, the Mirror API works with RESTful Web Services. That means coders who have already created software for other Google products should be able to dive right in; "you can develop with whatever tools, or languages, are your favorite, whether that be PHP, or Python, or even Java" team member Jenny Murphy says.

Exact details on the Mirror API are still in short supply, however, though one thing is clear upfront: developers from outside the US aren't particularly welcome at this stage. That's presumably down to regulatory and safety hurdles in the Project Glass Explorer Edition headsets themselves - Google has previously cited that limitation as the reason why the $1,500 early-access wearables were offered only to coders in the US back at Google I/O 2012 - which prevents the search company from offering a physical platform on which non-US developers could test their new wares.

Nonetheless, with wearable technology tipped to grow significantly in the next five years - one research firm predicted a huge surge in the segment earlier today - it remains a disappointing decision by Google, and one which potentially leaves US-based developers with an unexpected advantage over their international counterparts. The Glass team will presumably be following up with more on Mirror and other app details as 2013 goes on, but without equal hardware access the fear is a disappointing repeat of the insularity of other products like Google TV, which have failed to gain any traction outside of the US.

[Thanks Al Sutton!]


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