Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel on why they built an app for a smartwatch but not Google Glass

Galaxy Gear camera

Snapchat announced a Samsung Galaxy Gear app this morning — one of 70 that will be available when the smartwatch launches September 25. Snapchat has not released an app for Google Glass, so why the Galaxy Gear?

Because Glass is invasive, according to co-founder and CEO Evan Spiegel. Spiegel appeared on stage at the TechCrunch Disrupt SF conference today, where he said that playing with Galaxy Gear prototypes convinced Snapchat that smartwatches are an ideal platform for quickly snapping, sending and viewing fast-disappearing photos.

Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel

“One of the key parts of our service is reducing that amount of time between seeing something you want to share and sharing it,” Spiegel said. A watch allows the wearer to take a photo within two seconds, instead of the seven seconds a mobile phone requires.

While Glass offers the same experience, Spiegel said it “doesn’t make Snapchatters comfortable.” It’s easier to take a photo without someone’s knowledge.

Galaxy Gear camera

The placement of the Galaxy Gear’s camera on the watchband — facing away from the wearer — might make it possible to take a picture inconspicuously, but my colleague Kevin Tofel said the swipe and tap motion, plus loud shutter noise, used to take a picture is obvious enough that it’s on a different level from Glass. Spiegel also said he has faith in Snapchat users to use the app for good.

“We think people are great,” Spiegel said. “We think they want to be expressive and generally not mean. Maybe that’s naive.”

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