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: