How to get just the notifications you want on Google Glass (and nothing more)

Facebook, weather--what more do you really need? Credit: Screen capture from IFTTT

A free "recipe" service makes Google Glass a reliable ($1,500) notification device.

Getting apps to work with Google Glass is not easy or intuitive, at least at this early stage. I've had Google Glass since August, and only this very morning did I realize that, to share a photo to Twitter or Facebook, you need to add those apps as "contacts" on your My Glass app. There has to be a better way.

There is, in fact, as of yesterday. Rather than set up apps individually on your smartphone—logging in, entering a password, logging in again on Google, granting permissions—you can now use IFTTT to set up notifications to be sent to Glass. IFTTT is one of the best ways to send notifications you actually want to your phone or other places, and it makes a great fit for the mostly receiving-and-showing Glass.

The IFTTT-to-Glass connection is all one-way for now: you can only set up apps and services and gateways to ping yourself on Glass when certain things happen. Glass notification recipes are already piling up at IFTTT: Send a Glass notice when it's going to rain tomorrow morning, when you get tagged in a Facebook photo, as a package makes its way to you, and (of course) final Celtics scores, among many others.

As with all things involving IFTTT, the utility of the service depends on how much you're willing to tinker and think and plug in. One of the biggest fixes I see is a filtered Gmail setup. Right now, turning on the Gmail app for Glass hits you with every single email you get, which in many ways makes browsing through your timeline utterly useless. I just turned off the Glass app and set up a recipe that only sends emails labeled "VIP" (from a filter) to my Glass headset. Using The New York Times channel, I could send articles matching "Google Glass" to Glass, just to inflate my ego and sense of living near technology's edge. Or, yeah, fantasy sports team stuff, if you want.

ifttt_nyt.jpgScreen capture via IFTTT
The NYT self-referential recipe for Glass

The IFTTT integration does not do much to expand Glass' appeal beyond the early adopter set; it basically overlaps Glass' circle of tinker-and-tweak enthusiasts with IFTT's own nerds (who are lovable, and of which I am a member). It does, however, make Glass something you can actually set up as a reliable notification tool, which it really wasn't before. Unless everything you cared about came from Google Plus or Elle magazine. In which case, I would really like to meet you in the comments.

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