Hands-on: Facebook and Twitter's Glass apps let you post from your face
As if we didn't already have enough social media shoved in our faces, on Thursday Facebook and Twitter released their official apps for Google Glass. The announcement was slipped in during a Google I/O development session, and I'm sure it thrilled the four people in the room who actually had Glass in their possession.
As one of those so-called explorers who paid $1500 to Google for the opportunity to look like a dork, I rushed to play with the two apps. Just how, exactly, would the big brains at two of the world's most successful Internet companies take advantage of the Glass interface? You would think that if anyone could show off the power of Glass, it would be the social media elite.
Posting photos with my face
Save for Google's pre-loaded apps, most of the Glass apps I've tried are simplistic: They let you share a photo or video to a service other than Google Plus, but don't offer any options to tweak anything to personal preferences. The Facebook and Twitter Glass apps unfortunately follow suit. They allow you to share your photos to your followers on either social network—but like so many other Glass apps, that's pretty much the extent of their capabilities.
Photos shared to Facebook are posted straight to your profile, and you're given the option to dictate a short caption to go along with the image. The current Glass dictation software is still really rough around the edges, so most of my captions came out reading like the words of a drunkard. It took about 20 seconds for Glass to upload each photo and caption to Facebook, but the time should vary based on your network connection.
While the Facebook experience is basically meh, I found the Twitter Glass app to be one of the most convenient ways to tweet a photo: You just tap twice on the photo you want to share, and off it goes into the Twitter-verse. The process takes approximately two seconds, and photos you tweet using Glass carry the hashtag "#throughglass," letting your followers know that the image you just shared was posted from your face.
OK, sounds pretty awesome right? Not so fast. While sending out mass quantities of face-tweets sounds appealing, it's beyond the capabilities of Twitter's current Glass app. That's right: The software doesn't let you compose new tweets. You can reply to people who mention or message you, but if you want to voice your thoughts on, say, the new Star Trek movie, you have to pull out your phone.
This, of course, is puzzling. I can compose a tweet using a $5 dumb phone from 2001, but not a $1500 high-tech headset from 2013.
None of these problems matter, though
While social media's first development forays into Glass are disappointing, we can't be too critical of these apps. Only a few thousand developers, journalists and celebrities will ever use these apps, which are really nothing more than proofs-of-concept, and should be reviewed as such. Glass still isn't ready for mainstream audiences, and these apps will certainly change dramatically by the time the headset hits store shelves, which probably won't happen until early next year.
But one nice thing about Glass apps is that they're silently updated in the background, so it's possible my complaints have already been addressed and remedied by the time you read this. If you're one of the lucky few in possession of Glass, and need a way to justify your rather spendy investment, I suggest activating these apps for your own Glass, and making your friends jealous by posting updates from your face.