15 cool apps for Google Glass

Finding stars or making healthcare easier, third-party developers are busy with ideas for Glass

What's Google Glass worth without apps that make use of its technology? While Google's futuristic eye-worn computing device is set to come with its own native apps, third-party developers have begun cooking up their plans for the new form factor. Even though some of these are just concepts at this point, many will be ready to use soon.

[ Related: Glass wearers say 'trust us' ]

Google Glass

Take photos by winking

One of the first Glass apps to draw attention was Winky, the app that enables Glass users to snap a photo simply by winking. It's seen as a silent, more discreet alternative to the standard voice command for taking photos with Glass.

Google Glass

Recognize friends by clothing

Facial recognition is a viable technology for Google Glass, but it isn't very useful in large crowds. InSight, developed by Duke University researchers, solves this problem. A smartphone app takes images of a user's clothing to be used as a reference for the Glass app, which identifies friends by their outfits and displays their names in video playback on Glass, New Scientist reports.

Google Glass

Time travel in real time

History buffs are excited about the advent of augmented reality (AR), and with a head-mounted display its potential will only grow. History Pin uses AR to overlay historical images on a smartphone over real-life landscapes, allowing a user to see a view of Times Square in the early 20th century while standing in it modern-day. Another concept app called Time Travel aims to do the same with crowd-sourced images.

Google Glass

See GPS coordinates

Using sensors only available in Glass's debug mode, Lance Nanek wrote an app that shows the GPS tracking coordinates of the users as they move. This data could be useful for developing other apps with more practical uses.

Google Glass


Several developers have come up with concepts for shopping apps that can visualize grocery lists, look up nutritional information, and calculate cost in real time. While current battery and processing limitations make it difficult to develop these apps today, they are likely to catch the attention of a lot of consumers.

Google Glass

Facial recognition for healthcare

MedRef uses facial recognition on Glass to identify patients and bring up medical records or other information immediately. Glass could go one step further than tablets in the healthcare space, further eliminating paperwork and time-wasting processes while freeing up doctors and nurses for multi-tasking.

Google Glass


Another healthcare-focused app for Glass, Augmedix has received a lot of attention from media and investors alike. The company has yet to release many details as its product is still in development, but it has raised $55,000 as part of its seed funding and has released this teaser video to drum up additional interest.

Google Glass


The Starfinder app turns star-gazing into a game. It was one of the first official games developed for Glass, and it challenges users to identify constellations faster than other players.

Google Glass

SkyMap for Glass

Similarly, hacker Jeff Thomas adapted the popular Android app SkyMap for Google Glass. While the project is still in development, the aim is to make the experience the same on the Glass headset as it is on an Android smartphone.

Google Glass


Almost immediately after Google introduced Glass, fans of the popular AR-based massive multiplayer Android game Ingress were speculating about the potential for the game on Glass. While no official app has yet been released, this video by Android Police bloggers shows how to run Android on Glass, including Ingress -- albeit with a few glitches.

Google Glass

Lock screen for Glass

Glass comes with a native option for Guest Mode, which prevents friends from seeing users' information and messages when trying out their headsets. But the lock screen app, called Bulletproof, was invented for those concerned about theft, or even just nosey friends or co-workers trying to sneak a peek at their Glass.

Google Glass

Two-factor authentication

If the lock screen isn't enough, GlassAuth uses the ZXing Android barcode scanner to bring two-factor authentication to Google Glass. More information is available at Github.

Google Glass

Thirst news app

Although Glass will come with a native New York Times app, Thirst Labs developed a more comprehensive news aggregator for the device, Mashable reports. Rather than receiving headlines from the Times only, Thirst allows users to customize the types of news and the sources they like to read, creating an individual news stream directly to the user's Glass screen.

Google Glass

Hermes social sharing

Wearable technology has the potential to radically change how social media users communicate. Hermes is an open source project to create social tools for notifications and messaging that make the best use of the Glass form factor, along with other wearable formats.

Google Glass


Built by developer Mike DiGiovanni, the same mind behind GlassAuth, Launchy is an easier way to retrieve and re-open apps that the user has already launched on Glass. On the GitHub page, DiGiovanni says Glass defaults to its Home screen the screen has been shut off. With Launchy, users can access the apps they had open without starting from the beginning on the home screen.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.