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.
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.
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.
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."
Actually, I'd expect a lot of hobby projects. So far from half-assed (possibly very good), but yes, unsupported.
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.
Google has to make money or kill the project. They are not afraid of killing projects.
However, I would wait for Ubuntu glasses BECAUSE people can also sell good apps there.
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.
I really hope they run Ubuntu as the comments suggest :)
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.
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.
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.
>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.
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).
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.
Isn't one of their go-to app examples a headline feed from the NYTimes? Don't they still have a pay-wall?
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.
* 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.
Because Google will be controlling and profiting off them presumably
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.
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..
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.
I am very happy.
I should point out that you're conflating free (as in freedom) with free-as-in-beer (ie, gratis).
Free (as in freedom) software absolutely may have ads, or charge for the software.
F-Droid may be 'all of the above' (free as in freedom, no ads, no charge), but that's not necessarily implied by "Free (as in OSI/RMS free).
Sorry are you talking about Google or Apple here?
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.
Please explain to me how "you are not allowed to make money" will force me to create anything of real value to the end user?
In the best case you would end up with software that is the state of the linux desktop.
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?
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).
Both glass and FB home are first iteration products, by their Nth generations they will be likely be much different than they are now.
I don't think people won't develop for glass, I just think that start ups and the like probably won't come out in full force because the lack of business incentives.
TBH, I feel like trying to build anything on glass now (that isn't a hobby for devs) is pretty much a phishing expedition for google to pick up in an acquisition at this point.
Currently reading through the source and trying to rack my brain for what simple but useful thing i could so with the timeline, subscription, and location :P
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).
The SDK launched one year after the first iPhone (and iPod touch) hit the stores.
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.
"No Fees. You may not charge end users any fees or collect any payments in order to download or access your API Client, or in connection with virtual goods or functionality of your API Client."
No ads, no data collecting and no fees in any form if you use the Mirror API. Maybe these rules won't be applied for Glassware that doesn't use the Mirror API?
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.
Sure they can, people don't just work for money, they work for notoriety or fun. Money is the most popular incentive, it isn't however, the only one.
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.
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.
The Cydia Store disagrees.
I'm a software developer and I'd love to develop for ground-breaking new hardware like this.
Not that I'd spend any time on such efforts in the absence of clarity from Google on this point.
Disclosure: I utterly deplore the effect that this will have on society if it does take off
Just quoting the Google marketing department.
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.
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 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.
Especially given Google's own statements saying that pictures/video are the (current) main use case (that they've discovered so far).
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.
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"