back to article Google erects tech specs tech specs, APIs hit the decks

Google's much-hyped Project Glass spectacles are inching closer to launch and the Chocolate Factory has released an application programming interface (API) guide and management software for the headgear. The first techno-specs, dubbed Google Glass Explorer Edition, are already rolling off the production line, the firm said in …


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  1. JimmyPage Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Starting to be excited about this ...

    although not in a boys toys way.

    Mrs JP has MS, and it's knackered her vision (optic neuritis) making it hard to see at a distance. It's not a lens issue, so specs don't help. If these gadgets can be used to project a TV picture so it's viewable as if it were a foot from the eye as opposed to the 6-8 feet in real space, it could be a godsend.

    So bring it on.

    1. Michael Hawkes

      Re: Starting to be excited about this ...

      I work with a bunch of eye doctors, so I wonder how long it will be before one of them gets a set of these for "research".

      It would probably be more useful to people with certain conditions, such as macular degeneration or maybe glaucoma, where they have some good, but patchy vision. People with dense cataracts, cloudy corneas, etc might have a hard time with Glass, though I'm guessing.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Starting to be excited about this ...

      I'm certainly interested.

      a "25-inch high" screen seen from eight feet away.

      For me it would depend on the text size. I guess they're talking about a 30" widescreen telly equivalent. I couldn't read subtitles on that from 8 feet away. So I'd be OK for icons, arrows, status lights, or very large text that covers most of the screen. Otherwise I'd be stuffed.

      But then, for context, I use 5x magnification to read normal 8-12pt type. So a relatively bad case.

      You could make something up with a nicer camera, or at least one with a zoom lens, and a slightly bigger display that could be excellent for me. SatNav display where I can also magnify road signs and train departure boards. I can read these if I stand close enough, but in cities they tend to be placed 20ft up in the air, so the only way to get close enough would be to carry a ladder.

      Still once the tech is mainstream, it then becomes much cheaper to make up modified versions. So I have hope for shiny things to come.

  2. JDX Gold badge

    More interested in the business angle

    There must be opportunities for a smart entrepreneur to sell some pointless gimmicky use-cases to those who insist on having iPad apps developed for no reason.

  3. Chris Miller


    I think I'll wait for the HD display.

    1. Don Jefe

      Re: 640x360?

      HD in one eye? What's the point?

    2. ratfox Silver badge

      Re: 640x360?

      Though it would not be that surprising for such a particular display, I wonder where this 640x360 is coming from? I can't see it anywhere on the web site…

      EDIT: Actually, it is in the User Interface Guidelines.

    3. Lusty

      Re: 640x360?

      I thought that, for a virtual 25" screen that's 14.4 ppi or about 2mm wide pixels. Space invaders will be awesome though.

      1. Badvok

        Re: 640x360?

        Think you might have done your maths wrong there - you might want to double check.

        And remember that this is a pixel at an apparent distance of 8 feet, so even if your 2mm was right it wouldn't look too bad.

        1. Badvok

          Re: 640x360?

          Just wanted to add that there is actually a handy calculator over here:

          By its calculation that display would be equivalent to a 'retina' display at 9 to 10 feet, so nearly there.

        2. Lusty

          Re: 640x360?

          The screen is virtually 25" high according to the article. 360/25=14.4 pixels per inch. 1/14 inch is around 2mm therefore the screen will appear to have pixels of 2mm in size. Not sure how my maths is wrong as there aren't all that many sums involved here.

          1. Badvok

            Re: 640x360?

            Ah yes, sorry I read the actual Google info, rather than the Reg's fudge. It is a '25" High Definition screen', not a '25" High screen', so in usual terms the 25" should be considered the diagonal.

            1. Lusty

              Re: 640x360?

              Ah now you're making sense. I thought it was a silly claim to be making in order to sell a product "biggest pixels ever, buy now!"

              1. Rukario

                Re: 640x360?

                A 25-inch diagonal on a 16:9 is 12.25 inches high, which for being 8 feet away, isn't very large. Anyway at that resolution, the virtual pixels are about 0.9 mm.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Devil's eye

    still think they're not legal.

  5. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. dotslash

      Re: I solemnly promise

      but when it's called an iGlass, I'm sure you'll be onboard ;)

    2. Andy Fletcher

      Re: I solemnly promise

      I solemnly never understand why so many people who appear to hate the march of technological progress read The Register. Shouldn't you be too busy ploughing fields with a hand held furrow or something?

      When I have the spare cash I'll buy a pair. Not because I want them (which I do), nor because they represent an interesting development in technology (which they do). No, I'll do it because you won't. Promise.

      1. Lusty

        Re: I solemnly promise

        You're being a bit fast and loose with the word "progress" there. All this is is a bunch of hardware placed in a form factor that will sell to nerds. Nobody seems to have written software, thought of use-cases or even explained why it's better than a head mounted camera. They will probably sell a few to geeks but until it offers a real advantage, the normal people will stay away. This is why most normal people think Apple invented smartphones - they were the ones who thought about the uses, they put maps in and made them easy to use. Others failed before them because they just put a load of tech in a box and let people write their own software.

      2. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: I solemnly promise

          Remember, all you need to do is say slowly, loudly and clearly, "Safe Search Off. Search horse-porn."

          To steal a silly idea for a Microsoftie.

        2. Marketing Hack Silver badge

          Re: I solemnly promise

          I have to wonder if objections will arise on the grounds of security (is a Glass user walking around filming stuff that would make the locals feel edgy?) or just social graces (Is this guy filming me while we are eating lunch together, or taking in a general bar scene?).

          And unfortunately, at least a few pervs out there will start using these to surreptitously film their inamoratas.....

          Will Google be asked to put some kind of glowing red "on air" light on these so you can see when someone is filming or taking pics?

          1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Re: I solemnly promise

            Isn't the law in Japan that all phones have to make a loud 'shutter noise', to alert women of upskirt photos? I've no idea if they have a similar warning noise for video though.

      3. frank ly

        Re: I solemnly promise

        " ... ploughing fields with a hand held furrow or something?"

        Close, but no harvest for you.

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    Sounds a bit expensive

    If I wanted to become a creepy person that no one wanted to talk to, I can think of cheaper ways of going about it than buying these glasses. Since that's the effect they'll confer on the wearer.

    1. JeffUK

      Re: Sounds a bit expensive

      $1500 was the pre-pre-release figure for the especially eager user.

      My biggest concern is that you have to have an android device to make any use of it; Which will bump the cost up for me, as I don't currently have one!

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        Re: Sounds a bit expensive

        Let me fix that:

        "$1500 was the pre-pre-release figure for the especially eager usersad git."

        1. frank ly

          Re: Sounds a bit expensive

          I'm waiting for the carved-from-gold-block, diamond encrusted ones. You know it will happen.

          Alternatively, if someone could make some imitation 'Glass', then I could wear them so that people leave me alone. If anyone does start to bother or bore me, I could adopt a startled look and say, "Korea just launched a nuclear missile; I'm going home and suggest you do too."

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sounds a bit expensive

      ..such as becoming "Obviously!", perhaps?

  7. Johnny Dangerously
    Thumb Up

    I can't help but get a little bit excited about these, purely for gaming. Sure the HUD option is the next logic step to headset and mic, and could offer some really interesting possibilities.

    Not sure I'd want to use them out of the house. Pretty easy target for the tea leaves I'd imagine

  8. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  9. BorkedAgain
    Thumb Up

    Nice headline.

    Reading through the "getting started" guide, it does sound like a fun device...

    Can I call dibs on the use of "Glass Actions" to describe the people suing Google when they start walking into lamp posts while reading their tweets?

    1. jeffq

      Re: Nice headline.

      Loved the headline! Not quite as concise as "Sticks nix hick pix", but how often do you see an 80-year-old cultural allusion?

  10. Andrew Jones 2

    The thing I find funny is the number of people who say it will make people look creepy - and yet - people wearing bluetooth handsfree thingies who often look like they are muttering away to themselves walking down the street have largely been accepted nowadays. Prediction - Glass users will become accepted - it's not like we are going to have a choice - not when Google aren't the only company developing said technology and especially not when Apple inevitably realise they are missing a new market and jump on board.

  11. rcp27

    And if I already wear normal glasses?

    I wear regular glasses, and don't particularly care for contact lenses. Will these high tech specs be compatible with my "dumb glasses" that I wear everyday? Will I be able to get them with prescription lenses, or perhaps something that can attach to a normal pair of glasses? I can't be alone in the potential market for such a device, as glasses wearing seems to be quite prominent in the geekery community.

    1. Boothy

      Re: And if I already wear normal glasses?

      Bear in mind this is just the first version, for early adopters and developers. i.e. what about people that can't use their right eye?

      I expect later there will be more versions, smaller, that could then potentially either hold prescription lenses, or be clip on.

    2. Badvok

      Re: And if I already wear normal glasses?

      You do know this isn't actually a pair of glasses right? It is just a display that sits in your field of view.

      Of course there will be issues about using it in conjunction with other headgear, but hopefully there will be options that address this when it goes mass-market.

    3. mmeier

      Re: And if I already wear normal glasses?

      IIRC Google said something about the non-"HUD" part being capabel of accepting prescription glasses instead of the window glass in the base model

    4. Nuno

      Re: And if I already wear normal glasses?

      you can write an app that takes a video feed from where you are looking at, and put it right in front of your eyes (hummm, your eye), so you don't need prescription lenses anymore.

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: And if I already wear normal glasses?


        That's not much good if you need prescription lenses in order to be able to see the HUD though.

  12. Boothy

    Play store: This item cannot be installed in your device's country!

    I hope no one in the UK bought these glasses, as Google seem to have restricted access to the UK, and presumably other countries!

    Presumably US users only then :-(

  13. TJ1

    ... you may not use the APIs for any activities ...

    "Except as specifically licensed by Google, you may not use the APIs for any activities ..."

    Errr, didn't Google recently win a minor court case (*subject to appeals) in the USA where the plaintiff (Oracle) was claiming that APIs are copyrightable.

    If APIs are not copyrightable, as the court found, then on what basis can Google license use of an API?


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ... you may not use the APIs for any activities ...

      No relation. The first case is about copying an API and re-implementing it. The other is about using an API available to developers to interact with a device.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Friendly warning...

    The difference in focal point depth between the normal eye and the info on the glass in the other eye will make some of you puke your guts out. Caveat emptor.

    1. Bent Outta Shape

      Re: Friendly warning...

      There's no way your average human will be able to focus on something 1 inch from their eye (try it!).

      So I suspect the HUD will do some lensy blurry magic (*) so that the image appears to be somewhat further back. Maybe not 8ft though...

      (*) technical term, used by those of us who have no real idea about the optics.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Friendly warning...

      I always wondered why some people reacted that way to rapidly decreasing or increasing their eye's focal point.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Friendly warning...

        Human eyesight is stereoscopic. The brain has evolved to take input from 2 eyes on on focal point and turn it in to brain electrickery. When this mechanism is fiddled with, the brain continues to try and make sense of it but fails miserably.

        It's one of the reasons trainee pilots flying the Apache get very sickly indeed. Some of them never get used to it and have to drop out of the training programme.

  15. AjarFly

    Might be useful ...

    Can I overlay an image of Kylie when I'm "entertaining" the missus?

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Might be useful ...

      Only if she can have a pair that overlay an image of Jason over you...

  16. JB

    Too cool for glasses

    You see so many ads for laser eye surgery and contact lenses, it is obvious that the majority of people wouldn't be seen dead with some fugly specs on their face. So now we're supposed to believe that these same too-cool-for-glasses people will shell out for these?

    I also agree with those posters who can see uses for those with (slight) visual impairments, but for most they already wear glasses, so this would not be an option. Perhaps in the future there'll be an add-on for your existing pair of specs, though I doubt my horrible bottle-bottomed behemoths would get a look in.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's NOT about hardware.

    Come now good fellows. This tech has been around for years in forms better suited to a HUD. Many of you are speculating how they might be of a visual aid. Perhaps it is blatantly obvious. Though, I don't think that is the main point of Google Glass. Do you think Apple's reason for making the iPhone was so that you can make phone calls? Do you think Google's reason for making Glass is so that you can have a HUD? This is not some cool gadget or break through or "progress". This is a device to keep you connected via/to Google. When I can by a retina scanning display that uses standard connectors/radio signals, then I may buy one. Or maybe someone will hack Google's Glass. It should be more like 100 quid. What I don't need is a Goooooogle/Faceweb/Twatter portal with an Appshop on my face. 10 hours a day is enough for me. The other 12 I can do without screens. I actually prefer buttons and knobs.

  18. Ubermik

    Is this really that cutting edge?

    A company (qourum) about 20 years ago was selling glasses that displayed video and sound which sold for a fraction of the cost of these

    I personally think google is off the mark just a tad tbh with the entire concept of this product and reckon that a generic display only product that was as "intelligent" as a bluetooth headset would have made much more sense, been far cheaper and would have had far more real world applications

    Unless theres were supposed to work independantly to or completely replace a phone then why on earth faff about with fast processors and gigabytes or memory?

    A product that just took a videostream from a "computer" whether thats a PC or a smartphone with ANY operating system ideally just over bluetooth would have been far more widely appealing and far more saleable to many more people

    As it stands though it feels like the same kind of "genius" that would create coathangers with inbuilt clocks and a combined tyre iron/back scrubber

    The fact that this tech is being dusted off and wheeled out 20 years down the road is good, but I sort of hoped for the type of mass market appeal that multituner home TV head sets, PC monitor replacement glasses and the like would have been rather than some over priced hard to place technological faff tbh

    1. Esskay
      Thumb Up

      Re: Is this really that cutting edge?

      "As it stands though it feels like the same kind of "genius" that would create coathangers with inbuilt clocks and a combined tyre iron/back scrubber"

      So... I'd be able to keep the hanger in my car in case I get a flat tyre, hang my after-work dinner clothes on it, give myself a quick scrub after work and not have to worry about being late? How much money do I need to throw at you and in which direction do I throw it?

  19. Trustme

    The poor dears..

    So it's the latest, shiny new "Must have" gadget, but it won't work with an iPhone.

    Isn't that some kind of irreconcilable psychological dilemma for your typical iPhone purchaser? Will we see rows of fanbois stuck, unable to move, outside large electrical retail chains due to the purchase/avoid loop they've got stuck in?

  20. Anonymous Coward

    I want one

    I really want one even after reading this daft resell clause.

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