Author Archives: acroyogi

About acroyogi

I design leading edge apps for smartglass and smartwatches, focusing on human connection, athletic performance, and outdoor recreation

What are the available Google Glass voice commands?

say delicious in thai

o.k. glass, say ‘delicious’ in thai

The primary means of input to Google Glass is via voice commands. Here’s a listing of known voice commands, based on transcription of the company’s demo video. It is confirmed that all the apps shown in the latest video are in fact functional software running on the Glass Explorer Edition, due for imminent release.

It is most likely that Glass uses a form of natural language processing, or NLP, to parse user requests into actions and route them to the appropriate services. All commands are pre-queued with the phrase ‘o.k. glass‘, which essentially is the keyphrase that makes Glass pay attention to the voice commands or requests that follow.

Google Glass Voice Commands:

task command
video “record a video”
photo “take a picture”
initiate hangout “hang out with [person/circle].”
search “google [search query].”
image search “google photos of [search query].”
translate “say [phrase] in [language].”
navigate “give directions to [place].”
TXT / SMS “send a message to [name].”
“send [message] to [name].”
weather “how is the weather in [location]?”
air travel “when does flight [flight number] depart from [airport]?”

For the accompanying visual representations of these commands, see the Google Glass PSD template, which has card templates for each of these applications.


What is the Mirror API?

The Mirror API is a cloud platform that uses OAuth 2.0 and REST as an architecture for delivering a new class of experiences to people using Glass.

UPDATE: April 20, 2013

Google has launched a comprehensive website documenting a developer preview of the Mirror API, including source code in Python, Java, and PHP. You can visit that resource here:

For more general information, read on:

At SXSW 2013 in Austin, TX, Timothy Jordan gave a sneak peek at the Google Mirror API, which is what you’ll use to build services for Glass.  The presentation was intended to help developers and entrepreneurs start imagining what they can do on Glass.

The basic building blocks of the API include:

  • timeline cards,
  • menu options,
  • sharing with contacts, and
  • subscriptions

Some early use cases of the Mirror API on Glass have been built by

  • Evernote,
  • The New York Times,
  • Path, and
  • Gmail 

Developing for this type of device is a little different than classical mobile development, because the user is wearing it on their face, and the information flow embodies a very intimate experience.  Given that, Jordan put forth some recommended Glass UI design guidelines:

  1. Design for Glass - The Glass design is unique and fundamentally different than existing mobile platforms.  It’s important to build and test specifically for Glass to create a great service.
  2. Don’t get in the way - Services should be there when you want them and out of the way when you don’t.  They should never take precedence over what else the user may be doing.
  3. Keep it timely - Glass is most effective when in-the-moment and up-to-date.  User requests should be handled immediately and information should always be fresh.
  4. Avoid the unexpected - Giving users unexpected and unpleasant functionality is bad on any platform, but particularly bad on Glass given how close it is to the user’s senses.

For more details, watch the video.  Keep in mind that Google hasn’t officially launched the Mirror API yet; they’re still building it and getting feedback from a small group of testers. Stay tuned for more updates in the coming months.

Please note, unfortunately the demo & slides stream at SXSW wasn’t recorded. The demos in this video were redone to match the presentation.  Please forgive any slight discrepancies.


See also:



What resolution is the Google Glass camera?

Google Glass incorporates a 5 megapixel digital camera:

  • 2560 wide x 1888 high, at
  • 5 megapixel resolution, and
  • roughly a 4:3 aspect ratio

It can also capture and broadcast live HD video:

  • 720p HD
  • 1280 wide x 720 high
  • 30 fps at a 16:9 aspect ratio

Here’s a sample image snapped by Steve Lee, Glass Project Lead, along with the accompanying EXIF data:

Pier 39 Google Glass photograph

Pier 39 San Francisco by Steve Lee #throughglass

Google Glass EXIF

EXIF data for Google Glass 1 still image capture



UI Design Best Practices for Google Glass


as presented by Timothy Jordan at SXSW 2013

Here are a handful of UI best practices to use when designing for Glass. A few of these were presented at SXSW 2013 by Google’s Timothy Jordan. The rest are my own from years of next-gen UI design experience.

  1. keep it simple. no, *really* simple.
  2. the screen is TINY. so make your fonts BIG, and put only the most essential information on screen.
  3. smooth visual transitions. this is right in the users eye. no blinking lights. think crossfades and flowing animations.
  4. The font in all the Google demos is Roboto, of varying weights. Download it and get familiar with it. Roboto to Glass is as Chicago was to the original Mac.
  5. The interface metaphor is info-cards.
  6. Use a small natural language indicator in the lower right to indicate a relative timestamp for the card’s information. As in, “just now”, “now”, “3 minutes ago”, “yesterday”, “3 days ago” etc.
  7. Use cases: Glass is for information about the moment, and information ‘snacking’. It is not for the consumption of feature films, e-book novels, or AAA videogames. Unless its an audiblebook. :)

>> Click here to preview a Photoshop template embodying these principals

>> Click here to download the Roboto font

Does Glass create a true Augmented Reality experience?


diagram showing small portion of FoV that glass display actually occupies. click to embiggen.

There is a lot of confusion in the marketplace about the role of Google Glass in augmented reality, which is as much Google’s fault as anyones. What few people understand is that the initial Project Glass launch video, ‘One Day’, was a concept video, akin to Apple’s seminal Knowledge Navigator from 1988.

Here are some clarifications to bring expectations towards reality:

1. Does Google Glass enable Augmented Reality?

No. True augmented reality requires a concept called registration, whereupon information and synthesized visuals are overlaid atop reality in real-time. Optimally, when the user shifts the orientation of their head, the synthesized image pans and tracks with these motions with near-zero lagtime, producing the illusion of magical realities overlaid directly atop of a waking reality. These types of applications require significant processing power in terms of both computer vision processing and graphics rendering. Glass apps and services are called from the cloud, thus introducing network latencies that make it nearly impossible to produce valid AR experiences. Glass is, instead, a mediated reality platform. It injects snack-sized pieces of information into the users perception, optimally at relevant and useful moments of their lives.

2. Does Google Glass give a full field of view experience?

No. Glass posits a small semi-transparent screen of information in the upper right of the users natural field of view. It only displays this information to one eye. The actual field of view is probably something close to 5 degrees. In otherwords, given the classic 180 degree circle of perception emanating from your eyes, the glass display occupies less than 5% of that space.

> Read more about the Google Glass display

What are key vertical applications for AR / smartglass?

Vertical applications for smartglass are being actively explored and prototyped by two companies: APX Labs and Ikanos Consulting.

Both are targeting the following vertical markets:

  • Police
  • Firefighters
  • Military / soldiers
  • Medical / doctors

Additionally, companies like Boeing have employed versions of Augmented Reality systems for decades, overlaying blueprints and schematics atop airplane fuselages. These systems show, for instance, wiring diagrams and rivet locations, both for new aircraft construction and routine aircraft repair and maintenance. So we can add:

  • Aerospace
  • Automotive factories
  • Automotive maintenance / repair



When will Glass launch and be available for purchase?

Google states that the Glass launch will make units available for retail purchase by Christmas 2013.

Pricing has yet to be announced. You can make your voice heard on pricing by chiming in on our poll : How much would you pay for Glass?

Initially the units will only be sold to consumers within the United States.

Google made ‘Explorer Glass‘ prototypes available for purchase to a limited pool of developers who were willing to pledge $1500 at the companie’s I/O conference, held in San Francisco in June 2012; these units are expected to actually begin shipping Spring 2013.

Google further opened applications to an additional 8,000 Explorers in late February 2013, announcing ‘winners’ in late March. Those selected will be offered Glass for $1500 plus tax, and required to pick them up from special orientation events to be held in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. It is expected that these units will be ready for pickup Summer 2013.

 source: Steve Lee interview with Josh Topolsky, The Verge — Feb 22, 2013 


What is the Glass OS or operating system?

Glass will be running an optimized version of the Android OS.

Developers, however, will be fairly limited in their access to the core OS and hardware. All apps will be hosted on the cloud, and be forced to mediate services via Google’s MirrorAPI, adding an additional hardware abstraction and network latency layer to communications between apps and individual Glass units.

What aftermarket accessories will be available for Glass at launch?

You can’t have a consumer electronics success story these days without a healthy aftermarket / aceesory ecosystem. We imagine the following items might be a good start for Google and their early Glass adopters:

  • custom frames to match your prescription optics
  • custom sunglass attachments a la Gargoyle
  • stylish lanyards so you don’t drop them
  • color-matching USB cables
  • external battery packs connectable via USB
  • carrying cases
  • pink moustaches
  • charging docks


What other smart glasses compete with Google Glass?

There are quite a few smart glasses that compete with Google Glass. These can be classified into two broad categories. First, there are other SmartGlass manufacturers, companies who are producing intelligent eyewear. And secondly, there are consumer electronics, fashion brands, and mobile handset makers who are bringing to market smartwatches, fitness monitors, and other tech which will compete for consumer’s walletshare and confidence. It is reasonable to think that many consumers will make a choice of spending their dollars on either a smartglass or a smartwatch.

First, here are the companies and products who are producing actual smartglass, i.e. direct competition to Glass:

AV glass:
VR goggles:
digital contact lenses:
optical nerve implants:

For an overview of other products in the smartwear space, stay tuned for our forthcoming report.

Also, there are headcams / life-vloggers, which we’ll cover in detail in a separate post:

  • Looxcie
  • Contour
  • GoPro
  • Epiphany Eyewear
  • Taser Axon
  • MeMoto

Find out more: