Google Glass: 10 apps we'd like to see
Google Glass Explorer edition headsets have started to ship to those who registered their interest during last year's Google I/O conference, so we're starting to see some interesting developments. Consumers may not get their hands on shop-bought versions until 2014, but it's already looking like the concept will be well supported from launch.
Software developers both independent and at major firms have been working with the Glass for a while now, and are coming up with some cool ideas. Mark DiGiovanni has devised Android source code that can be compiled into an APK in order to add winking control to certain Google Glass functions. Called Winky, his application can take photos simply by registering when the user winks. And that's just the start.
Naturally, Google itself is coming up with ways its existing software can be incorporated into the Android-powered device, with Google Search and YouTube being obvious additions, but what about the rest out there? What apps do we want to see modified for use with wearable computing and augmented reality?
There have been strong hints that Twitter for Glass is already in development. An account suspected to belong to a mobile engineering manager at Twitter published a picture with the hashtag #throughglass, the common hashtag used for those publishing images taken on their new Google Glass Explorer headsets. In addition, it claim the posting was sent through "Twitter for Glass". The jury rests.
However, beyond sending automated tweets of still images, we'd also like Twitter for Glass to link with speech recognition software so a personalised tweet can be posted vocally.
You may find, however, that if you use Twitter for Glass a lot, you might want to limit the number of people you follow. The twitteratti can create a lot of chat noise and will be a huge distraction if it's there in front of you all the time.
A rather obvious one really, and we'd be staggered if Mark Zuckerberg's crew isn't already working on it.
However, we would like to see features beyond merely scanning through the social network, and one in particular; face recognition.
Just imagine it: you're at a party and someone comes up to you and says, "Hello, Mr Pocket-lint, haven't seen you for a while." You can end up racking your brain for their name, which often doesn't come, so you invariably resort to the failsafe of calling them "mate" for the rest of the evening - and beyond. With Google Glass linked to Facebook, it could work some face recognition wizardry and their page instantly pops up (or as fast as mobile broadband allows). Bob's your uncle. Which would be even more fortunate if it was indeed your uncle Bob you were speaking to.
Of course, they may not be a Facebook friend. But if that's the case, why are you bothering to speak to them in the first place? And after all, they've clearly forgotten your name too, considering they called you Mr Pocket-lint.
In a word, retro-looking pictures instantly taken of everything you see. Which is nine words, but you get the idea.
To be honest, we'd expect the Google-owned Snapseed to do much of the same thing from the off.
As well as a slightly modified Sky Sports application - so that you can keep track of the live scores at other grounds/stadiums while you're nervously biting your nails to find out if the team you watch every week is going to be relegated - we think the Red Button services the broadcaster offers on its TV service could be utilised for Google Glass.
Imagine sitting in ground and having picture-in-picture of the Player Cam at a football match, which follows specific individuals on the pitch. Or, and this is probably further off, a read-out of a player's details when you look at them.
And it's not restricted to football, Formula One fans could access the multi-screen viewpoints of the pit lane or from the on-car cameras while they're sitting in the stands waiting the one minute or so before their favourite driver blurs past them again. Or how about watching an entirely different rugby or cricket match as well as the one you've attended live?
The Weather Channel
Yeah sure, Google Glass will be able to give you current weather status in a Google Now style pop-up, but often you need more detailed information. The Weather Channel application provides a swathe of extra information and weather maps that you could see at a brief glance.
It has a feature where it tells you exactly what to expect and when, based on geolocation information. For example, it will say something like "expect rain at 3.13pm". In addition, thanks to its iWitness video posting programme, where individuals post live videos of the weather outside their homes and offices, you could see exactly what to expect at a location you are travelling to.
Better still, the Google Glass video capture could help make iWitness even more instant. You could post and view videos taken seconds beforehand.
Transport for London Journey Planner
TFL is yet to release an official Journey Planner application for its transport services. There are plenty of unofficial ones, but we think this would be an ideal opportunity it to get one together. It's got until 2014, most likely.
While Google Maps will invariably give good directions, time tables and the like, a dedicated app could make travelling on London transport a little easier. You could get an Underground map overlay, for example, which shows your actual location. Much of the information would have to be stored in the app, as travelling on an underground train means you won't have a data signal for much of the time. You could hook it up to Virgin Media's Tube Wi-Fi, but that only works in the stations themselves, not while travelling.
Another feature we'd really like to see is a guide on what carriage to get on for the optimal exit position at the destination station. That would make our day. But we're anal like that.
A fitness app seems an obvious choice and we're fans of RunKeeper here on Pocket-lint, so would like that to make it on to Google Glass.
It's great to see your statistics, including distance travelled, pace and prospective calories burnt on a smartphone, it would be even better if you could see that information appear in front of you in real time as you're jogging along.
We'd also like to see the features offered by something like Kinomap Trainer, which shows route maps and video of live runs, cycles and rowing boat rides to match stride and pace to as you, usually, use fitness equipment at home or in a gym. Imagine having the London Marathon route running on Glass as you plod around? Would make Croydon High Street seem a little more interesting.
It could be H&M or it could be an app from any number of high street fashion chains. The beauty of having a clothes shopping application on Google Glass is that it could completely eradicate the fuss and nonsense regarding queuing outside dressing rooms in order to try clothes on.
You could simply hold a garment up at arms length and have it overlayed on to a picture of yourself. Et voila, you can see what the actual top, trousers, skirt, leather codpiece will look like when you wear it.
Of course, it doesn't solve the "does it fit?" problem, nor will you be particularly welcome in communal dressing rooms when you go in to find out, but it could save some bother.
In addition, a fashion app - or any shopping app come to think of it - could instantly show an online price comparison as you hold up the item's barcode. And, more importantly, whether it's in stock. Argos, take note.
The current Body Talk app would not work on Google Glass, but the concept would. It's a body language database, where you can tell a person's intention or mood based on how they are sitting, stroking their hair or any one of thousands of other "tell tale signs".
So, take Body Talk's database, couple it with visual recognition software and your natty wearable computer will tell you exactly what a work colleague, client or prospective love interest thinks about you through their motions along. Add a vocal analyser and you'll be able to get inside their minds.
Of course, the most likely result each and every time is that they are curling into a ball and very much saying "buzz off" as you stare uncomfortably at them long enough for the results to return over 3G.
Finally, a first person shooter is a must; one that uses the real people around you as enemies. Dead Trigger is obviously a fantastic game in its own right, but imagine a version where the people you walk past in the street are all turned into zombies and you have to shout "bang" as you look at each one to vanquish them.
Then imagine men in white coats coming towards you with a nice jacket with buckles on it, who turn into space monkeys with names like Wiff and Jumpy. And imagine the fun you'll have turning each segment of padding on the wall into a space rocket to shoot out of the night sky.
We think that's perhaps enough Google Glass apps to be getting on with.