Google expanded its Explorer Programme to the UK today. That means Brits across the country are thinking about buying their very own headset, and they're likely searching for the best Glass apps to download once their fancy gadget arrives.
Well, search no further.
Pocket-lint has combed through all the Glass apps, and we found the top 10 apps you should download immediately. It wasn't a hard task, considering there are only about 100 apps to choose from. In terms of encouraging third-party app developers to jump on board and build products for Glass, Google has a long way to go. But Glass is still in its early stages, and Google certainly has the muscle and influence to grow the device's ecosystem in no time.
Until that fully happens however, you're choices are limited. Don't get too discouraged though. There are plenty of apps available today that can show off and confirm exactly why you paid £1,000 for Glass. Keep in mind the apps below are listed in no particular order. We also avoided pre-installed Google apps, such as Google Now, and the standard, no-brainer apps like social networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc).
Glassware, or Glass apps?
First thing's first: Glass apps are also known as Glassware. And you can visit Google's official Glassware hub here. The page lists many featured Glass apps along with descriptions and privacy policies. It's a handy resource for those of you who are worried about security or want to know more about the apps you're downloading and running on a daily basis.
Note: Not every Glass app is listed on Google's page. Third-party developers sometimes post download links and install processes on their own sites.
Top Glass apps
Word Lens - Link
Word Lens is an augmented reality translation app from Quest Visual. It basically scans and translates foreign text. When Google acquired Quest Visual in May 2014, it announced Word Lens would incorporate Google Translate. With Glass, you can use Word Lens to translate in real-time. Just point the Glass camera at any printed word, such as a road sign, and you will see a translation immediately. There's no network connection required either. The app supports only a few languages at the moment however, and those include: English, Portuguese, German, Italian, French, and Spanish.
Field Trip - Link
This is another Google-built Glass app. It is the first product to come out of the Niantic Labs internal start-up at Google. The app uses location to help you discover stories and information about the places around you. The goal is to keep you "heads up" as you explore. Think of Field Trip as an augmented tour guide, with tips on local history, insider finds, design, architecture, and more. There's also channels with "hyper-local experts and trendsetting publications".
Refresh - Link
Finally, the first non-Google app on this list. It's an app that helps you become the ultimate creeper. Refresh claims to deliver "an instant dossier about the people you meet so you can get the most out of every conversation." In other words, in an attempt to prepare you for social engagements with friends or strangers, Refresh surfaces information about them, such as profiles, photos, statuses, and events from various social networks. We imagine Refresh is best before meeting with people at work, because you'll know everything about them and be fully prepared for the appointment.
Preview for Glass - Link
Here's an app not yet listed on Google's Glassware hub. To download Preview's APK file, you must go to the Preview website (an APK file is a file format used to distribute and install software on the Android operating system, without needing access to sites like Google Play and others). You will want to download Preview straightaway, even though it's not super easy to do. Why? With Preview, you no longer have to use your smartphone to search for film titles and trailers. Just point your Glass camera at any film poster, and the film's trailer will instantly surface and start playing. Amazing.
SpeedHud - Link
The concept behind SpeedHud is simple. It shows you the speed you’re currently going…and nothing else. Remember - the point of Glass is "heads up", and SpeedHud is an app built with that goal specifically in mind. It keeps useful and important information, such as your driving speed, in your heads-up display at all times, so you can keep your eyes on the road. We could also imagine the app adding more handy bits in the future, maybe even alerts for things like traffic or road blockages. But that's just speculation.
KitchMe - Link
Glass is meant to be hands-free, right? Well the kitchen is the one place where most people find themselves truly needing a hands-free device. And with Glass apps like KitchMe, they can finally have both their hands and access to information. KitchMe lets you voice search for meal recipes. Not only can you find recipes and preparation instructions, but you can also hear recipe directions played back and see ingredients right in front of your eyes. KitchMe is both cool and highly useful.
OpenTable - Link
Not everyone likes to cook. If KitchMe isn't your thing, check out OpenTable. It's the only Glass app that helps you make reservations at thousands of restaurants. Just say “Make a reservation” followed by the restaurant name or “nearby”. Once you find the restaurant you want, tap “Book it”. The only downside is that OpenTable for Glass hasn't added the ability to cancel or modify reservations yet. So be sure your reservation is correct the first time.
Glassentation - Link
This app is more for students, but it's a very practical app that we think most people should find useful. Glassentation is for presentations. You can use it to send everything from PowerPoints or Google Docs to Glass. You will then be able to view the file right in front of your eyes during presentations, meaning no more looking away from your audience. It's apps like this that make us wish we had Glass during our university days.
Star Chart - Link
We all love star-gazing apps for Android and iPhone. But have you ever wondered how much cooler they'd be if you could look at the stars and start charting them instantly? Well now you can, thanks to Star Chart. Simply look up and discover the stars, planets, and constellations. The Star Chart app features all the visible stars of the northern and southern hemispheres as well as 88 constellations, with imagery from 17th century astronomer Johannes Hevelius. To launch Star Chart, just say "OK Glass" followed by "Explore the stars". You will also hear audio descriptions and have access to a grid and night mode.
OK. We've mentioned two apps here (we cheated), but they're very similar and from the same developer. Strava Run track your runs with GPS, analyses your performance, and lets you note records and compete with friends. You'll also see real-time stats about your activity like distance, pace, elevation gained, calories burned, etc. Strava Cycling does the exact same thing as Strava Run... but it's for cyclists instead of runners.
There are many wonderful apps for Glass, not just the ones listed above. We also liked TripIt for travelling, for instance, as well as Compass for navigating, Evernote for note-taking, Mini Games for basic gaming, Shop X for streamlined shopping, and more. Let us know in the comments below if we missed any notable apps or if you recommend some other honorable mentions.