Up until now developers have been using Google’s cloud-based Mirror API for Google Glass to build third-party apps, but today Google is officially previewing its new Glass Development Kit (GDK). While the Google Mirror API allowed developers to insert timeline cards, respond to user notifications, share from Glass and more, the new GDK allows developers to do even more with their third-party Glassware.

Google’s Timothy Jordan gives a sneak peek of the new Google Glass Development Kit in the video above noting some of the new features it offers developers. One of those features is offline support. Developers can now build apps that run natively on Glass with real-time user response that doesn’t require apps to contact the cloud. The GDK also provides developers with deeper access to hardware such as the accelerometer and GPS.

During it’s presentation above, Google demos a couple of apps that are already using the GDK. One of the apps is World Lens, an app that uses the GDK to access the camera and overlay offline, real-time translations for text you’re currently looking at. 

Something else the GDK offers devs is the ability to access Glassware components including Live card, Static card, immersion, and background services. Static cards are essentially what we know from the Mirror API, but Google showed a demo of a stop watch running as a live card to the left in the Glass timeline. Immersions allows the rest of the Glass UI to fade away to have a more immersive experience for your app.

This is great news for Glass developers and will ultimately result in more useful apps that take full advantage of Glass voice commands, cards, sensors and offline/background services. The apps Google demoed, including Strava, GolfSight, World Lens, Spellista by Glu, Umano, JewishGuide, IFTTT and Allthecooks will be available for users later today, and it’s also adding new stopwatch and compass Glassware.

The Glass Development Kit is available to developers as add-on from the Android SDK Manager and can work together with the old Mirror API. Google has a quick start guide for GDK on its website here.

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