Google Glass Development Kit

Google Glass is a device that is pretty much running on a customized version of Android. This is a good thing for all you Android developers out there because Glass uses a lot of the familiar Android APIs. But, even though the APIs are familiar, the Google Glass UI is a whole new experience which will require you to rethink how your apps are designed.

If you’re interested in developing for Google Glass, then the first step to take is to install the Google Glass Development Kit. The Google Glass Development Kit is an add-on to the Android SDK that has additional APIs for Glass-specific features. Developing Glassware with the Google Glass Development Kit, instead of the Mirror API, will allow you to take full advantage over the hardware. One more thing you should know is that the current version of the GDK is an early release, so things will be added or removed over time.

Getting Started with the Google Glass Development Kit

Before trying to develop anything for Glass, you should take your time to learn about developing for Android if already haven’t. If you have no background in Android development, then you’re pretty much going to be lost when it comes developing for Google Glass. If you’re interested in learning about developing for Android, then you can take a look at this free course.


Anyway, if you already have some Android developing experience, then getting started should be pretty easy for you. To get started, you first need to download and install the Java SE Development Kit. After that, simply download the ADT bundle (if you don’t have it already) and extract it to an easily rememberable location such as a folder on the desktop labeled “Android SDK”. Once extracted, open the folder and run the “Android SDK Manager”; when it opens install the SDK Platform and Google GDK Sneak Peek that’s located under “Android 4.0.3”.

After you have done all that, you need to turn Google Glass on to Debug mode by going to Settings > Device Info > Turn on Debug.

Once you’ve turned on debug mode, connect Glass to your system and confirm that it’s detected by going to Window > Open Perspective > DDMS in Eclipse – which is found in the ADT bundle folder.








The Glass Development Kit comes with a few sample pieces (including the source code) of Glassware for you to check out as well. You can import these sample apps/glassware to Eclipse (included in the ADT Bundle) by:

  1. Opening Eclipse
  2. Going to File > New Project > Other > Android > Android Sample Project
  3. Selecting Glass Development as the build target and by clicking Next.
  4. Selecting the Compass, Stopwatch, or Time sample and click Finish.
  5. In the Eclipse Package Explorer, right click the sample you want and select Run as > Android Application. Make sure Glass is connected to your system while doing this.

If you have past Android developing experience, then you know what to do at this point.

Other Tools

Sadly, there’s really not a whole bunch of other tools out there that can help beginners (or “professionals”) with speeding up, or improving their development process. Still, there are a few emulators out that can help you at least design your app or help you get a taste of Google Glass if you don’t actually have the device. If you are interested in such, then you can check out Google Glass Emulators here.