We're watching Google's Project Glass developer panel live at SXSW Interactive, and the company's showing off some of the first third-party software integrated into Glass — all using a unified "Timeline cards" interface to position short bursts of useful information in your peripheral vision, and Google's Mirror API to pull down that data. Google's developer advocate Timothy Jordan demonstrated that software on stage, starting with The New York Times. Breaking news can be delivered hourly to your Glass headset. If you use the "look up" head gesture, Glass can show off photos and headlines, and read the text of a story to you as well.
Subscribing to the Gmail service delivers important messages right to your Glass headset
Each Glass integration must abide by four principles: "design for glass," "don't get in the way," "keep it timely," and "avoid the unexpected." Gmail has a presence on Glass too, allowing you to reply to important emails right from the headset. The Gmail "subscription" can be configured to only push you "Important" emails. You'll see the message subject line, a picture of the sender, and can dictate your response with Google's voice recognition system. "You can still have access to the technology that you love, but it doesn't take you out of the moment," Jordan said.
Evernote's also on board, letting you share photos to Skitch. After taking a picture, you can swipe the trackpad over to a Share mode, swipe to Skitch, and tap it to share a picture. Jordan described a scenario where you could take a photo at a meeting using Glass, post it to Skitch, and later on use your tablet to annotate the image and save it to Evernote.
Glass lets you post photos to Skitch, Evernote, and Path with a few taps
Lastly, there's Path: If a friend shares a photo to the service, you can get a photo notification right in your Glass headset. You can then swipe through different Path emoticons and pick one using the same touchpad interface, to comment on how you feel about the picture without having to pick up a phone. "Path sends me pictures from the people I know really well and the people that I love. I can tap on any one of them to comment or choose an emoticon without breaking my stride," says Jordan. "It's made for Glass, it's timely, and it's never really unexpected. It's a community I already curated on Path," he said.
Those were all the demos that Google had for us at this event, but these should start getting the creative juices flowing: when the Mirror API is released, developers should be able to build their own Timeline cards, fill them with HTML, images, video, and text, and let users subscribe to similar Glass services. But what about Glass services that go beyond the usual gambit of social networks and news sites? "I don't want to post more social network crap," one audience member asked during a Q & A session following the event. Jordan smiled and said "We want to choose services that improve your life."
Ellis Hamburger and Thomas Houston contributed to this report.