Google Glass apps starting to take shape

Google Glass isn’t available yet—at least, not publicly—but the third-party apps are already starting to roll in for Google’s computerized eyewear.

Evernote, Path and the New York Times have all been working on apps for Google’s high-tech glasses. Google showed off some of these apps during an event at SXSW Interactive, according to multiple reports.

Evernote’s Skitch app seems to be the most basic of the bunch, letting users share photos to the service directly from Glass. Users can then annotate those photos later with Skitch’s mobile or desktop apps.

Path, a small-scale social network that emphasizes privacy, goes a step further. Glass users will be able to look at curated status updates from friends and family, reply to posts with comments and emoticons, and of course share photos to the social network.

The New York Times app, as you might expect, delivers a stream of headlines to Glass’ lens-mounted display, along with bylines and photos. Users can then tap on the device’s touch panel to have Glass read the story aloud. The app may also get the ability to deliver notifications for breaking news.

I’m somewhat skeptical about Google Glass, and these apps haven’t changed my thinking. Some of them, such as the Times’ feed of news headlines and Path’s social network updates, could work just as well on something like a smart watch, which would be less intrusive and more fashionable than a head-mounted display. Photo-sharing in Path and Skitch would, of course, take advantage of Glass’ photography features, but they aren’t killer apps on their own.

Another recent application called InSight, a Duke University project that can identify people by their current outfits, is more intriguing. It takes advantage of Glass’ built-in camera and private display in ways that these other apps don’t. If Glass is going to be game-changer, it’ll need more unique functions like this, rather than things that are better-suited for a smartphone or smart watch.

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