On day two of Google I/O analysts from Goldman Sachs followed the Google Glass track of sessions. This track proved one of the most popular at the conference with all sessions filled to capacity and in need of overflow rooms, which were also full. In this note Goldman analysts summarize their takeaways from the track.

Google glasses

How Google Glass works

Most will be familiar with Google Glass’ heads-up display. The display shows what Google refers to as the Timeline, which is a series of pages called cards. Cards may be text, images, video or instruction menus. Google Glass users can scroll through these cards using the multi-touch panel on the ear lug. User can activate Glass’ basic functionality of web search and photo and video capture through voice commands. Google Glass also integrates with Google+ so users can share their photos and videos. Sharing is a core functionality of the Glass software available to all apps for the device. Technically, developers can build apps for Google Glass using the Mirror API from Google, which is based on JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) for encoding and OAuth for user authentication. Both technologies are open standard and should be familiar to most developers.

Goldman’s experience with Google Glass

Analysts at Goldman had the opportunity to try out Google Glass and they found responses to voice commands crisp and accurate. The multi-touch panel on the ear lug took them few minutes to get used to in terms the pace of flipping through cards in the Timeline. On the display, in bright sunlight they found it difficult to read sometimes depending on the design of the card. Also, Goldman analysts found focusing on the display took some getting used to. That said the Glass device they trialed had not been fitted to their tester. Glass can be adjusted at the ear lugs and ridge of the nose to put the display at the proper focusing distance.

Examples of Glassware

Google presented several examples of applications for the Glass device, known as Glassware. The company’s core products of Google search, Gmail, and Google+ have Glassware applications. In addition, the New York Times and Path currently have Glassware apps, while Glassware from Facebook, CNN, Evernote and Elle magazine are in various stages of development.

What’s next for Google Glass

Google Glass remains in developer preview with more than 2K developers in Google’s Glass Explorer Project having received the device about a month ago. The next group to receive Google Glass devices will be the 8K winners of the company’s #ifihadglass contest. In addition to the Mirror API, Google will make available a Glass Developers Kit (GDK) with tools enabling the creation of Glassware. No time frame was given for its release or for the commercial availability of Glass. Google has set up a web-based community for Glass Explorers to contribute ideas for the GDK and is actively seeking feedback. Additionally, the company will provide updates to the Google Glass software with new features and bug-fixes on a monthly basis going forward.