It may seem that Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) is taking a page out of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) playbook as it establishes guidelines for companies developing apps for recently-launched wearable smart device: Google Glass.
The race for wearable devices has seemingly been on for a while, although its easy to forget that a number of companies have already across the finish line. Pebble was one of the first, releasing a smart-watch of its own, while Apple, Samsung, and now maybe even Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) are still racing to design and release a smart-watch. Never mind that Sony (NYSE:SNE) already has a smart-watch on the market as well.
The idea for wearable devices isn’t exactly new. Some devices for monitoring health and fitness have been around for a few years, and the area has been gaining popularity. As Samsung and Apple race for a smart-watch, it is almost easy to forget that Google’s already done something similar, but entirely different.
Google Glass is one of the first realizations of a heads-up-display — as popularized in basically every first-person video game ever — showing users data projected onto the pair of glasses they wear. Though the glass is just centimeters away from a user’s eyes, the information should appear as though it is 8 feet away on a high-quality, 25-inch screen. The possibilities for the technology are probably greater than a lot of people realize, and that may be just why Google is starting to call upon app developers…
Google recently started sending out headsets to developers who had signed up to design apps for the devices. However, the design process for Google Glass will be a fair bit different than they have been for Android. While app developers were given a lot of latitude on how their apps functioned within the Android operating environment, Google will maintain heavier restrictions on how apps function in Google Glass. Since Google Glass is a much more personal device — being so close to a person’s eyes and on all the time, everywhere they go — it seems Google feels its important to keep app from being to obtrusive or intrusive.
One of the most striking things Google is doing — at least for now — is limiting advertising. The brilliant thing about Android was that is allowed Google to sweep the smartphone market as the technology world evolved, and it gave the company a prime seat to rake in revenue from the new mobile advertising market. Keeping ads mostly off of Google Glass seems antithetical to Google’s practices…
Many app developers think that Google will slowly increase its allowance of advertising on Google Glass, but as the product is slowly taking off the ground — it’s still in limited distribution to customers who signed up to be among the early recipients — it’s likely Google wants to keep the experience as pleasant and un-crowded by ads as possible.
While Apple, Samsung, and Microsoft battle in the watch arena, Google is hoping to release a polished and cheaper version of Google Glass by the end of this year. So, the big question remaining: which tech-infused version of a traditional accessory will sweep up more consumers, glasses or watches?
Here’s how Apple, Microsoft and Google finished trading on Wednesday:
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