In contrast to an otherwise surprisingly refined Google Glass beta experience, the experience of finding apps for Glass has only managed to evolve from from “nonexistent” to “barely there” over the course of the last six months. Happily, now there’s some good news for developers and Glass users alike, delivered via a Google+ post by Glass Developer Advocate Timothy Jordan:
As of today, you can submit your Glassware for review. Completing the Glassware review process will make your Glassware eligible to show on MyGlass and eligible to receive quota beyond the testing limit.
(Ready to get the Google stamp of approval? Go right ahead!)
The Glass App Abyss
Third-party Glass apps, also known as “Glassware,” have been around since Glass first made it into the hands of eager Explorers. But Google’s total lack of an app discovery system means figuring out which ones to download and where to find them is thoroughly do-it-yourself.
After launching with a very small pool of official apps, Glass has since added a few more. But the MyGlass interface, which serves as a sort of control center for Google Glass as well as its de facto app store, remained pretty barren. Official apps like Google+, Twitter, the New York Times and the like appear on the MyGlass page (accessible via web or through the Android MyGlass app), but unofficial, non-partner apps have to be hunted down manually through other means before they’ll show up here to be toggled on or off.
In its current “official” Glassware marketplace, Google offers core apps for utilities like email, social media and news reading, but it’s still sort of a confusing mix of useful stuff (Evernote) and random partnerships (Elle). With the news of a Glassware review process comes a small batch of freshly approved apps: SportsYapper, Fancy, Mashable, KitchMe and Thuuz.
Since Glass is still only available to a very small number of tech-savvy individuals, the app store void isn’t a massive problem, but it’s plenty annoying. As Glass expands to more users, the MyGlass interface becomes a massive, gaping malware opportunity. Users have to put their faith in unofficial Glass app marketplaces and user-curated collections. For anyone unfamiliar with the set of brands above, none of the new apps sound particularly un-sketchy. It just goes to show that Google’s seal of approval, doled out via the Glassware review process, will go a long way.
Glass Developers: It’s Go Time
Developers can submit apps through a new form called “Google Mirror API Review Request”. According to the guidelines:
To receive additional Mirror API quota and to appear on MyGlass, you first need to go through the Glassware Review Process. The process examines aspects of design, usability, privacy, and security to ensure the quality of Glassware and the safety of our users.
As you can see below, Google’s Glass developer portal offers plenty of advice on how to get approved.
Personally, I can’t wait for the process of finding freshly released Glass apps to feel less like a hidden object game and more like a visit to an app store. And I’m sure developers can’t either.