With the Google Glass explorer program now shut down, the future of Glass as a consumer product is bleak. However, all is not lost – the Glass team at Google has now moved out of the experimental ‘X’ division and formed their own division, cementing their spot in Google’s long-term goals.

They are working on a new version of Glass, which is expected to be geared toward industrial and business use. Developers are still being encouraged by the company to continue writing apps (called “Glassware”), and now seems to be a good time for anyone still waiting to get their hands dirty in Glassware development. If you need a little more motivation, here are five good reasons you should dive in right now:

Not Rocket Science

For the most part, it may look like something straight out of a Sci-Fi movie, but its not hard at all to write applications for Glass. The device runs on the Android operating system, which also powers many smartphones and tablets. If you’ve ever developed for Android, you can use that knowledge to quickly transition into Glass development. Never developed for Android? No worries, there are plenty of resources available online to educate yourself. Here is a great introduction to the world of Glassware development.

Source: pragprog.com

Source: pragprog.com

New Possibilities

This is a no-brainer; if you’re the sort of person who likes to tinker around and explore ‘cool’ new features, you should try your hand in creating Glass apps. The device is built differently from a smartphone or a tablet out of the box, and  provides a completely different experience to the user. For example, voice commands or hand gestures can be used to navigate through the menu and tilting your head around can be used to scroll through content. This has given rise to some fascinating apps such as Star Chart, Mini Games and Field Trip.

Plenty of Resources

There is plenty of material online, for people with different levels of development proficiencies, so that they can learn what is to learn and get coding as soon as they can. Here are just some of the resources at your disposal:

  • Android Studio – The one tool you need to create apps
  • GDK Docs – Copious documentation of the Glass Development Kit, provided by Google.
  • Glass Dev 101 – A simple tuorial that will help you create your first Glass app.

When everything else fails, just Google it. You’re sure to find the answer within the first four results.

Big Developer Community

StackOverflow - Keeping Developers Employed, Since 2008

StackOverflow – Keeping Developers Employed, Since 2008

As a corollary to the previous observation, there is a significant number of developers hacking away with Glass, and many more eager to sink their teeth in. If you need a collaborator or code buddy to speed things up, you can find someone at your local hackathon, at school, or online at StackOverflow, Google Groups, GitHub or Meetup.com events.

A Career Investment

While the product didn’t seem to gather steam amongst consumers (perhaps due to the stigma of being called a “Glasshole”), Google has begun to target business actively, given the multiple ways that the device can improve the bottomline. This makes learning Glass development a solid investment in your career, especially if you plan to work in organizations creating mobile technology. Given the entry barrier (high cost, limited number of Glass devices) this skill is sure to stick out on your resume.

The only downside is that with the explorer program now shutdown, it is going to be hard getting a new pair of Google Glass to experiment with. However, used units may be available for purchase via eBay (at prices much lower than $1500), and there are makeshift emulators available, such as this one, which runs on your Android phone.

So what are you waiting for? Lets get those creative juices flowing!

Want to get involved? NEXIS owns a pair of Google Glass, and runs a project where students can come together, share ideas for apps and collaborate to make these ideas a reality. Email me for more information!

Are you a Glass Explorer, developer, or someone simply curious about wearable technology? Where do you see the most opportunity for Glass Developers to create meaningful apps? Let us know in the comments section below!