While there was no skydiving this year to show off Google’s new wearable Glass, there were plenty of attendees wearing them proudly including me. This year hardware, however, didn’t take center stage. The focus was on new tools and upgrades to existing products and platforms.
Android developers were thrilled to see new APIs and tools. The biggest cheers, at least in my section, were for Android Studio built on IntelliJ which from what I can tell is way better than Eclipse but notably not open source. The Developer Console got a substantial update with integrated translation services, user metrics, and revenue graphs, but what really made a big splash the beta testing and staged rollout facilitation. These along with new location and gaming APIs rounded out the new offering for the Android development crowd.
It seemed that the crowd was heavily filled with Android developers because even though there was still two hours left to go in the keynote, the excitement seemed to wane from there. Not for me though!
The end user side of me was excited to see a more interactive take on the whole build-your-own-music library and custom radio application with Google Play Music All Access. Last year Google announced that individuals could place up to 20,000 songs on the Google Play cloud and now those songs can be integrated with Google’s interactive radio allowing for not only personalized radio stations but customizable ones. All for only $9.99 a month. Spotify and Rdio along with their other competitors better be ready to up their game.
Lastly, and this was a surprise to me, advances in Google’s original strong suit search were actually quite profound. Their motto is “Answer, Converse, Anticipate.” Google is taking machine learning and natural language processing and making the search experience everything you ever wanted it to be. Basically, you can talk to your computer and it answers you. And, not only does it answer you but it learns and starts to anticipate what questions you will ask and gives suggestions. Skynet, anyone? But, seriously the eventual mainstreaming of this new human computer interaction signals a continued evolution of computers seeping ‘naturally’ into our everyday lives.
The rest of the day was filled with 6,000 attendees that were thrilled to be in attendance and treated to a concert from Billy Idol to close out the evening. I’m expecting my second day to be focused on learning more about what Android developers find difficult and how we can help.