Last week Google revealed an expanded Glass Development Kit (GDK) which opens the doors for rich apps (including augmented reality) on the company’s smartglasses prototype.

At a developer event last week, Google Glass Developer Advocate Timothy Jordan presented the new Glass Development Kit which is now available through the Android SDK Manager.

Those who have developed for Glass will be familiar with the Mirror API which was released initially with Glass for developers to create cloud-based services for Glass. The Mirror API had several limiting functions including an inability to run code directly on Glass, meaning that all Mirror apps required internet connectivity to work. The GDK, which will work in conjunction with the Mirror API, brings lots of additional functionality to developers, enabling richer apps which can include augmented reality functionality.

Augmented Reality

From the beginning, Glass has been more of a HUD (heads up display) than an augmented reality headset. Instead of mixing reality and digital information, it functioned as a sort of digital overlay for static information. Now armed with the new functionality of the GDK we’re seeing the first glimpses of Glass used for AR.

Google demonstrated a new Glass app (or ‘Glassware’ as they like to call it) called World Lens which translates words in your field of view in real time:

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Word Lens has been available on both iOS and Android for several years, but moving it onto an unobtrusive head mounted display like Glass means it can be used in a much more natural way than holding your smartphone up in front of a sign.

Rich Apps

By providing developers access to the same APIs that they can find on Android, the GDK enables richer apps for Google Glass. Google worked with several early partners to create new Glassware that shows off the functions of the GDK. Those apps are as follows:


A GPS golf rangefinder app which tells you distance to the green, par, hazards, and keeps your score.



A head-controlled puzzle game where users are asked to unscramble words. This app includes the ability to make custom puzzles and send them to friends.



A GPS tracker for running, cycling, and other locomotive activities. The Stava app for Google Glass shows your session time, distance run, time/mile pace, and your segment time.

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A recipe app for recipes from which shows ingredients, prep time, and step by step cooking instructions.

Those with Google Glass can install these new apps from the MyGlass website or Android app.

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