So we can expect a bunch of half-assed software with no support? Awesome.
At least with paid apps we have a reasonable expectation of customer service and timely updates. Google's customer service is largely nonexistent, which they justify by pointing out that their products are "free". Even with products like the Nexus 4, their support was awful . Simple things like updating order statuses were somehow far beyond their capabilities. With free software and Google hardware, I can't even imagine the nightmare one would have to endure to get help resolving a Glass issue.
To provide some anecdotal defense of Google here, my Nexus 4 was damaged and required replacement. I called a phone number that was easy to find on the Play Store website and spoke to a human without being placed on hold for longer than a few seconds. The human listened attentively to my problem, and promptly issued instructions for their RMA process. I had my replacement phone two days later.
As a consumer of Google's software - as both a developer and end-user - I have experienced Google's legendarily bad customer support first hand. Having said that, I think it is an injustice to suggest that it applies to all things Google now and in the future, and I have a first hand experience that suggests that they are trying to improve this experience for consumers of at least some of their products.
That's good to hear -- I own the previous Nexus and skipped the Nexus 4 mostly because of the customer service complaints. Still, it will take a lot more stories like yours to repair that aspect of their reputation, especially for people (like me) who highly value customer service and don't buy anything without a warranty.
Also, that doesn't address the other side of the problem, which is the potential lack of support from Glass application developers. What happens when Glass OS 2.0 is released and half your favorite apps break but the devs have no incentive to update them? This has happened to me several times even with paid apps in the Android store, where the devs have actual cash motivating them to get an update out quickly.
It's a little naive on Google's part to assume people will create AND maintain tons of useful, quality applications just out of sheer enjoyment or the goodness of their hearts.
> It's a little naive on Google's part to assume people will create AND maintain tons of useful, quality applications just out of sheer enjoyment or the goodness of their hearts.
Google doesn't assume that. Google knows that Glass's feature set is only useful to provide auxiliary functionality for multi-device services, and they expect that users experience will be better if you pay for the multidevice service but not separately for the Glass app.
I'm sure they expect that the people making useful, quality Glass apps will often be making plenty of money from the services those apps interact with, not doing it out of either "sheer enjoyment" or "the goodness of their hearts."
> "So we can expect a bunch of half-assed software with no support? Awesome."
I'd rather expect we'll see a bunch of data collection and notification apps for services (ad-supported or freemium) that are primarily consumed elsewhere : Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Breaking News, Dropbox, etc.
Nothing about 'free client'/'no ads' necessarily says 'not monetize-able'.
 Frankly, the Mirror API doesn't seem capable of much more than that anyway. All you can really do is push notifications and supply a prompt whereby users can send you pictures and video.
* Why not ads? Everyone is worried that glass will just be a billboard held half an inch from your eye. Most of the jokes and AR gone wrong videos are exactly this. No one wants to pay 1500 for a device that shoots ads directly into your eye.
* Why make all the software free? First, you get people that are building software for fun rather than as a business. There is a long track record of this producing great software (hobbyist is not a dirty word in the world of software). Second, with a new device people are often unwilling to risk buying new software (or lots of new software) for something that might not pan out. Free is a great way to encourage people to explore and google glass is about exploring the space of AR rather than defining it. Third, it avoids the whole freeium crap that is chocking the android market. I was looking at pushup apps and it took me half an hour to find one that didn't require that I pay, look at ads or sign up with facebook despite there being a large number of "free" apps (free as in expensive). If I could find a version of the google play store in which the software didn't have ads and didn't have an absurd number of "pay 2.99 for the non-crippled version" I would use that store exclusively.
App development as get rich quick scheme is not a sustainable software development ecosystem. It sets all the wrong expectations.
It may seem counterintuitive but I trust free, ad free software (free as in beer) more than software that has a monetization strategy. Part of it is that software with a business angle tends to be SAAS since they have money for servers to store and compute on my data, whereas free/ad-free software tends to be a local app (it appears that Google glasses is not allowing local apps).
I think the correlation if it exists is pretty weak. Plenty of good software produced for free. For example linux is still generally "free as in beer" and I at least prefer it to windows. Plenty of bad software produced as a profit motivated venture. I am not going to provide an example of "bad software" to avoid a distracting flame war, but I'm sure everyone can come up with examples.
It is an interesting subject and hopefully someone has done a nice analysis of it, my non-scientific and highly biased assessment is that hobbyist software (read "free as in beer") tends to be higher quality from a technical standpoint but lower quality from a UX standpoint (read UX as friendly to a non-software engineering audience). Whereas the reverse is true with business produced software (UX over technical). Ubuntu managed to marry both worlds and produce noob friendly linux but this is often harder than it looks.
>You sound like RMS, and that's not rational anymore.
I'm arguing for "free as in beer" not "free as in software", not that I am opposed to "free as in software" in fact I'm a big fan, but we are pretty clear of RMS territory at the moment.
>Google has to make money or kill the project. They are not afraid of killing projects.
Google does not care about the direct value of projects, the thinking that I've heard from Googler's is that if more people use the internet google makes more money. Thus anything that encourages or integrates the internet into peoples lives more is a money maker. Google kills projects when people don't use them, not when they don't generate direct income (think all the years that youtube was in the red).
>However, I would wait for Ubuntu glasses BECAUSE people can also sell good apps there.
I doubt we will see Ubuntu glasses, Ubuntu isn't in the hardware market. Don't get me wrong, people can sell and do sell good apps on Google Play and at some point I expect they will sell good apps for Google glass, but Google has to be very careful about managing expectations (Google is excellent at expectation management for example gmail being in beta this is just another example) and first experiences if they want the technology to take off. A bad expensive app that lots of people can buy will do serious harm to the project's reputation.
Not really, plenty of people do software projects as a hobby and there is evidence that people tend do a better job at creative endeavors (discussed here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6XAPnuFjJc) when they find the work intrinsically rewarding rather than extrinsically rewarding (read, for cash). In fact extrinsic rewards such as payment can reduce the quality of work.
But you can’t fucking eat intrinsic reward! Is that really so hard to get?
Sure, many hobbyists will make lots of good software and that’s awesome. Twitter (and the like) will make software because they don’t have to monetize Glass, they just have to be present. The New York Times (and the like) will make software because they have existing infrastructure with which they can charge people outside of Glass (and people accept that infrastructure and are already used to it).
What, however, about people who develop apps for a living on their own or in their own small company, who don’t want to or think they can become Twitter or The New York Times? What about people who made their hobby their job? What about your mom-and-pop dev?
When I think “great apps” I think primarily of those developers. And they will not be able to survive on Glass.
> What, however, about people who develop apps for a living on their own or in their own small company, who don’t want to or think they can become Twitter or The New York Times?
If you can't build a web app usable outside of Glass on more conventional devices, find a way of charging for it if you need to make money from the whole operation, and build a free interface to Glass, you aren't going to be building compelling Glass apps anyway, given the rather limited interactivity available via Glass.
> What about people who made their hobby their job? What about your mom-and-pop dev?
They build a web-based application (paid, freemium, or whatever other business model) first, and then, if it warrants, build an auxiliary interface for Glass which has no added charge.
> When I think "great apps" I think primarily of those developers. And they will not be able to survive on Glass.
Glass isn't really (by features, independent of ToS restrictions) a suitable primary app platform. So no developers are going to be able to survive on Glass alone.
> There is no reason for all this unnecessary complication.
The reason is that:
1) Glass is not a platform suitable for complete apps, but for auxiliary interfaces for web-based services, and
2) Google doesn't want to encourage a model of people paying for services and then paying an additional charge for Glass access to the services, at least initially.
The question is not what action can google take that will help the largest number of developers. The question is what action can google take that will result in the best experience for early adopters and trend setters thus causing the technology to be adopted successfully. I expect that long term google will allow non-free apps, but short term google wants to lower the bar to use an app. As you say a NYT app, a twitter app. I wouldn't be surprised if google was much more careful about what apps it allowed in the glass app store than the android market.
>What about people who made their hobby their job? What about your mom-and-pop dev? When I think “great apps” I think primarily of those developers. And they will not be able to survive on Glass.
Outside of enterprise contracting gigs very few mom-and-pop devs are successful in the mobile market (few winners, many losers). It's a gold rush not a realistic business environment.
It doesn't avoid freemium it just means that the points/memberships have to be externally purchased. You just can't charge for the app.
Anyways I'd be shocked if there weren't quite a few freemium apps. The limitations of the API and the device mean that there will be a lot more work done serverside. That costs money.
App development as a paid endeavor is a very sustainable ecosystem. I doubt anyone is going to target a pool of a few thousand potential users and plan on getting rich, but there are bills that have to be paid. Especially in the world of local services one often has to pay for datasets (say a database of ATM locations and the fees they charge for an app that showed you what your options were).
>It doesn't avoid freemium it just means that the points/memberships have to be externally purchased. You just can't charge for the app
Yes, this is a good point.
I wonder if google would consider this a violation of the ToS since someone could offer an app that does not work at all except if you pay for a membership somewhere else. This would be equivalent as charging for an app but doesn't violate the letter of the law. I imagine google would probably decide on a case by case basis.
>App development as a paid endeavor is a very sustainable ecosystem.
It is a sustainable ecosystem for companies that have funding and know what they are doing but at the moment there is no doubt that a gold rush is happening is the mobile space. I think this gold rush has helped these platforms significantly, but I don't think developers are thinking rationally about their chances of actually producing a successful business(supply > demand). Once this correction takes place I expect that many app stores will suffer from a lack of new development which will hurt the public's expectations.
> WRT your second point, are you implying that people will be more likely to spend $1500 on Glass because there are not paid applications available for it?
They are more likely to buy Glass if the cost of apps for it are already bundled into the costs of paid web services, so that buying glass gets you the benefits glass provides for those web services with no additional hassle.
They will spend $1500.00 on glass because there are good applications developed for it that they get out of the box (glass with no apps is useless, glass with good free apps is better value than glass with good for-purchase apps). The $1500.00 should be a package deal which includes software and hardware.
* Would people be as likely to buy an ipod if itunes cost an additional $2.99?
*What about if you had to buy an OS with your computer even if it was only $29.99?
Packaging is a powerful marketing concept. I would expect that google is probably paying some developers to create useful apps.
No one is paying 1500 USD for a monocle that displays ads directly into their eye. Maybe 100 USD, maybe free. My android phone doesn't display ads outside of the apps, why would glass be any different?
I'm fine with this. Instead of a gold-rush, maybe people will only build things of value since they won't be motivated only by a pot of gold.
Anyone remember how bad many of the first iOS games were, because companies were clearly just shoveling together stuff in hopes of making bucketloads of cash? Actually, this is still what most iOS games are...
I personally still want to make software for it. At no point in my mind was I thinking about ads I could display or the money I could make. I just want to make software that assists me while I'm motorcycling. Looking to integrate that with an enhanced datalogger I'm building for my bikes that will just relay information via the REST api.
That's all fine and dandy until Apple's iGoggles come along, generously allowing you to deploy commercial apps (perhaps for an initial "outrageous" profit-sharing of 50/50?) and bam, these iGoggles within a few months offer zillions of uses to the consumer at a similar price-point as Google's say "only" 100s of uses.
Right now, from the current state of our knowledge, Glass initially seems to cost upwards of a good laptop, with a severely limited-in-capabilities developer API and no way to charge for potentially highly valuable apps.
If the above parameters don't change, Glass may well be the first in this new market but maybe not the one to blow up a completely new mass consumer gadget market from scratch, like the iPhone did..
Yah but actually choosing to USE apples iGoggles instead of a platform where you're not constantly baited and taunted by disingenuous assholes trying to exploit you for a buck, is frankly, insane.
This was the best move Google could of possibly made, I assumed Google glass was just gonna be another orgy of bait and switches like everything else right now in smartphones and tablets and the hilariously useless walled gardens people find themselves in. This actually has a chance of being a useful tool now. A useful tool!
Take money out and the only thing left is pragmatism.
Yes, you are correct. However if an app had ads and was also Free (libre), it could be recompiled and redistributed without ads too. What I meant to convey was that these apps are all GPL, MIT, BSD, etc licensed, and also wanted to convey that they respect you (by not spying on you, or burning your battery/bandwidth serving ads, etc), and are otherwise most likely RMS approved :-). I should have been more clear that they are both types of free.
His approach will hopefully force developers to focus on useful utility rather than trivial novelty with the goal of extracting money from the first waves of users.
This should be upheld for two generations of the product. Figure out where glass can augment rather than distract and make those augmentation offerings so compelling that people will want to adopt glass.
> His approach will hopefully force developers to focus on useful utility rather than trivial novelty with the goal of extracting money from the first waves of users.
Rephrased: "this approach forcefully prevents developers from making what people (sadly but quite apparently seem to) want". Aren't we here all about "making something people want" -- even if it turns out that the majority of people just end up "wanting" Angry Birds?
Why not try and see what you can develop within the boundaries of the constraints first. If you can't make anything useful within the constraints other than an attempt to copy angry birds or as a vector for ad displays, maybe your ideas just aren't that good.
I think they were getting at that "what(most) people want" is usually on the low end of the spectrum… in the same league of honey boo boo and reality tv, which aren't very useful if you ask me…
Also I don't really see this as a short coming if the glassess have access to the internet where a user wants to spend money on something. Sure its a website, but most apps anyways require the use of the internet (at least the data driven ones).
I think the constraints are great and make sense, given the philosophy of Glass that it should stay out of the way, and just be there when you want it. Everything about it should enhance your life, not get in the way. Simplicity is the key here. This isn't a desktop computer, or a smart phone. :)
Allowing people to not charge for apps is preposterous.
People who invested their time into making staff deserve to be able to charge for it. It’s awesome when people give something away for free but it’s also awesome when they dare to charge money for mobile software.
I really don’t understand this attitude of yours and others here that view charging money for apps as something negative. That’s just so absurd and counterproductive to me. We should, whenever we can, encourage people to charge for their apps what they deserve to be paid or else we will be buried under a mountain of freemium crap (and ads).
Of course, prohibiting third party developers from displaying ads in Glassware won't necessarily keep Google from displaying some form of advertising, like including 'sponsored results' or 'shopping recommendations'. Google already has a dominant market position in online advertising, this policy will only strengthen it.
As for developers, perhaps they can make Glassware that requires users to sign up to a mailing list or paid service, or that requires users to promote products via social networks.
Fair enough, but I can imagine a scenario in which a user takes a picture with Glass, shares it on a social network, and the Glassware appends a message like 'Made with Supercoolapp, click here to download for your phone or tablet'.
I'm assuming this is just while the product is in testing? They can't really expect to get much software made for the product when it's released if developers have no obvious way to make money from it.
In several ways its actually worse than that, you can't release an app showing other user generated content, because a spammer could result in serving up advertisements, which aren't allowed. So no apps involving communication with other people. Even worse you can't make an app capable of displaying any 3rd party internet content because the 3rd party might embed an advertisement.
So you're limited exclusively to content owned/licensed by the app developer. It can't involve social networking or user provided content in any way.
That's true and there will probably be some cool software built for it but there is a limit to the amount of investment people will put into developing software for it for free. There will be people with great ideas who need VC backing to turn them into products but they won't be able to get it without an obvious way to create revenue.
The problem will be even greater for Google when another company (Apple or Microsoft presumably) comes out with a simliar product which runs incredible new software that just isn't feasible on the Google Glasses due to this policy.
Surely you're joking... you act as if great software only comes from paying people, that's simply not true. Sure, some developers will avoid the platform because they can't make any money "directly" from it; others will be smarter and see there are many ways to make money indirectly via reputation as the guy who did X on glass.
That's not what I'm saying. You can build great software for free. However there are certain things that need money thrown at them, things which require a lot of R&D (e.g. Siri). Unless you have a way to gain financially from the software you won't get the money to put into the R&D and the product won't get built. Basically I'm not saying that great software won't be built for free but that there are taking a risk as there is are a lot of things that can't be built for free.
You implicitly assume that it's better to have a larger count of apps ("much software"). Looking at current app stores, this isn't really true. Not only are most apps terrible or useless, but among the somewhat useful ones, most of them are copies of each other's functionality.
A hundred fart apps and ten todo apps might be 110 apps, but even taken together they aren't any better than just the best todo app.
Possibly, based on the apps demonstrated at SXSW, one is allowed to create free (and advertising free) Glass apps that provide some sort of access to content or services that you separately charge for: a New York Times subscription or sending a note to a premium Evernote account.
Not that I'd spend any time on such efforts in the absence of clarity from Google on this point.
Let's face it, you weren't in the market anyway. And $1500 won't be the final price point if it goes over well. The point of this is to push the technology more than to satisfy people who expect it to be exactly like an iPhone.
Disclosure: I utterly deplore the effect that this will have on society if it does take off
No ads. That makes sense - I don't want to see ads that close to my face when struggling to read an already-tiny screen.
As a customer... the "free" line is upsetting and confusing. I would like to pay for good apps instead of relying on hobbyists adding their idiosyncratic-use-case features rather than the features I want.
This sounds like a rule made by a programmer/dev. I have to imagine it'll change once the device is available widely to consumers.
> As a customer... the "free" line is upsetting and confusing. I would like to pay for good apps
You will be able to, buy paying for non-free web services that provide no-additional-charge Glass apps. Glass isn't designed as a standalone app platform, and the features it exposes to apps don't really encourage apps that are independent of some broader service that is also used on a non-Glass device.
I'm curious what if anything can be done given the ToS.
I have an android phone so I'm sitting here looking at my apps, at least the ones that I occasionally use, and thinking about glass.
I really want a geocaching app but the premium account at geocaching.com costs money so thats out.
An ancestry.com account would be handy when I'm looking at paper records but that cost money so thats out.
All the "personal assistant" apps would seem to be a natural fit, but again they all want money.
Most game devs are not going to work for free.
I cant use an evernote client because that costs money.
Dogcatcher would be awesome but the dev is probably not going to work for free.
Radarscope has the same issue as above, high res nexrad radar is cool but the dev isn't going to work for free.
Same problem with proweather alert.
Amazon.com mobile client, well I guess we can forget mobile shopping in general.
Amazon kindle is a pretty tough decision because there are free ebooks from amazon and its not a bad reader in general.
Runkeeper... the app works with the free account, in fact I'm not sure there is any difference between a free and paid account, at least from the app point of view, is there?
Chant got kicked off the play system for idiot neo-puritan censorship reasons but other than that would be OK.
Ambling books player... They do sell audiobooks, but I mostly listen to free libravox books, its far better than the libravox apps. On the other hand the "nice" version of the ambling player which I have cost a little money, not free.
Tunein radio cost money and the only purpose is to listen to stations most of which deliver ads as part of their stream. Some don't.
My credit union has an android app. Technically they won't open an account unless you toss $5 in a savings account, although they claim you own that $5 and will get it back at closure so I don't know if google would shut them down over it. It would be kinda interesting to get notifications everytime I (or someone else) does something with my account, or be able to see my balance if I'm paying at a store. (whoops edited to add the killer problem is the Goog TOS require full access to all features for all free downloaders, but I just realized my credit union only provides service to people in a limited geographic area by charter... so they'd have to give free houses in their area to anyone downloading the free app so they get full access to the system by opening an account, this is a killer problem which moves this and any other app like it to the dead zone)
What I could do:
I think the newsblur client works with a free account so although I have a paid account I think I'm OK.
Same deal as above with the dropbox client.
Baconreader, I guess thats OK. Its free, isn't it?
So for about $1500 I could use a newsblur client, baconreader, and maybe a couple others.
I haven't read through the API super carefully, but I believe that you won't be able to write your own camera app, but you could certainly interact with the camera, by having the user share to a contact that you create/
So all is not lost, but the only app I could use under the TOS would probably be baconreader.
The unfortunate part about no money in the TOS means no geocaching.com and no ancestry.com apps and those would have been killer apps, well, at least for me.
Some geocaches give credit by uploading a pix of the locale and/or cache and/or contents and the gc.com folks never used to allow mobile/app access even just to coordinates unless you had a paid membership, so probably not even a "GC HUD" while searching.
As for ancestry and genealogy I've participated in quite a few cemetery surveys and assuming decent pix quality it would be awesome to "just stare at a headstone for 15 secs" and its magically snapped, geocoded, OCRed (good luck on 200 yr old stones, but at least a good first try?), and uploaded or something like that. Or if the GPS is good enough find an ancestors grave by gps, perhaps by someone else's geocoded pix upload, or at least get within 10 feet or so.
I've often thought that OCR with a highly limited dictionary downloaded from Ancestry would work better on worn headstones than generic OCR maybe even better than the mk1 eyeball. Maybe embed some HDR type ability and false color for the stones in the worst condition. Automated technology to pattern match stones as you walk by might work better than GPS at locating a specific stone, which is another whole weird area of research, like there is a stored pattern of rough color and size to pattern match against nearby my ancestors stones so it could successfully successively approximate.
Maybe when the apple iCompetitor (the iEye? iEye iEye Cap'n) comes out these ideas will be very profitable to some developer.
Leave ads to Google. But those aren't ads, they are useful (to Google's bank account)
Let's see: How should a serious developer or company make money for putting resources to develop Google Glass software? Not everyone has Google money to be able to wait for the rest to go bankrupt and then fill it with ads or raise prices. Good software, in most cases requires good programmers that got "mouths to feed"