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Google I/O 2014 Begins [updated] 49

Posted by samzenpus
from the hot-off-the-presses dept.
Google I/O, the company's annual developer tracking^wdevelopers conference, has opened today in San Francisco. This year the company has reduced the number of conference sessions to 80, but also promised a broader approach than in previous years -- in other words, there may be a shift in focus a bit from Google's best known platforms (Chrome/Chrome OS and Android). Given its wide-ranging acquisitions and projects (like the recent purchase of Nest, which itself promptly bought Dropcam, the ever smarter fleet of self-driving cars, the growing number of Glass devices in the wild, and the announcement of a 3D scanning high end tablet quite unlike the Nexus line of tablets and phones), there's no shortage of edges to focus on. Judging from the booths set up in advance of the opening (like one with a sign announcing "The Physical Web," expect some of the stuff that gets lumped into "the Internet of Things." Watch this space -- updates will appear below -- for notes from the opening keynote, or follow along yourself with the live stream, and add your own commentary in the comments. In the days to come, watch for some video highlights of projects on display at I/O, too. Update: 06/25 17:41 GMT by T : Updates rolling in below on Android, wearables, Android in cars, Chromecast, smart watches, etc.Keep checking back! (Every few minutes, I get another chunk in there.)
Note: the notes below are taken live from the I/O keynote; they're rough, and they'll keep getting cleaned up throughout. Please add corrections, amplifications, etc. in the comments below!

Update 1:

After a a quick glance at a few of the viewing parties around the world (taking place in 85 countries, 6 continents -- We get a glance at London, Brazil, and an all-female delegation in Nigeria ) VP of Apps Sundar Pichai Sr presented a few stats:

First, phones: Last year, there were 538 million active Android phone users -- now, says Puchai, 1.1 billion active users (20 billion texts, 93M selfless of which he says "about 31 M "are not faces."); phones checked 100B times/day.

Android tablets, he says, are up this year from 46pct of global market share to 62pct in 2014, when it comes to shipments. (And looking at YouTube use as a proxy: 28%last year, 2014 42%. App installs: up 236%.

Another stat that got a big round of applause: this year's IO has 20% women, more than 1000, up from 8% last year.

Pichai introduces Android One initiative, to get Android phones to price-sensitive market : Stock Android (same stock bar as in Nexus phones), plus allow OEMs to add their own stuff, but all the updates for system software comes straight from (Example phone from Micromax: 4.5", SD car, dual sim, FM radio: "costs less than $100" "launching w 3 OEMs in India next year: Karbonn, micromax, and Spice.)

Update 2:

Preview of Upcoming L release: Matthias Duarte VP design, on the look:

What is pixels had not just color, but depth? What is they can change shape in response to touch? "Material design," says Duarte, is the new watchword. A material that can change shape physically is difficult; but now UI elements can use specified depth elements, and the Android framework will do things like apply virtual light sources to give the elements evident placement.
  • Typography Introduces font consistency -- using the font "robot" -- so you can use the same one on all hardware (he mentions watch, TV, tablet
  • Rich, animated touch feedback.
  • Animated icons for printer, play, etc.
  • In L, developers can create "seamless animation from any screen to any other, between activities, and even between apps."
  • Introduces Polymer, which also brings the same features to desktop development.

  • Unified set of style guidelines for developers and designers. First draft out today at google.com/design.

Update 3: Avni Shah on Mobile web experience

  • Chrome on Mobile 27m last year, now 300m -- 10x growth
  • "Material design" again; physical-ish card-based searching: search results smoothly animate, include intelligent suggestions.
  • redesigned recents -- "Recent" list integrates both apps and Chrome tabs
  • Search improvements: Searching integrates recent use of apps and tabs, too: opening Yelp or OpenTable can drag in a recent searches, so for instance a search for a restaurant in your recent history will take you instantly to a restaurant if you open a restaurant-related app.
  • app indexing

Update 4: Dave Burke, on the features:

The short view:

  • New material theme
  • Lockscreen notifications
  • Prioritized notifications
  • Head up notifications

ART, the new runtime in L

  • supports mix of AOT, JIT, and Interpreted
  • truly cows platform: ARM, x86, etc.

64-bit compatible:

  • larger number registers
  • newer instruction sets/li>
  • increased addressable memory space/li>
  • cross platform/li>

Graphics -- big upgrades in Android extension pack:

  • tessellation
  • geometry tools
  • improved shaders
  • Unreal engine running on NVIDIA-based tablet -- impressive rendering

Project Volta:

  • improved battery instrument ion (battery historian -- lets you match)
  • Battery Saver -- can extend us up to 90 minutes "witina typical day's use"

Other bits:

  • Starting in Fall, you'll see high-end ("PC gaming performance in your packet") tablets shipping.
  • Increased battery life.
  • New garbage collector, memory allocator
  • Tomorrow morning, L previews for Nexus devices, and SDK available to developers.
  • Update 5:
    Pichai takes a dig :Custom keyboards, widgets -- those things happened in Android 4-5 years ago." Google Play Services ship every 4-6 weeks. Wants voice to be a major source of input:

  • context aware
  • voice enabled alls

  • seamless
  • emphasizes phone as the entry point, since users "always have their phone."

Update 6:

David Singleton: Dire Engineering, Android, on Android wearables:

  • 3 months ago, Android Wear SDK introduced.
  • both square and round screens supported
  • sensors for information, and " to help you reach your fitness goals"
  • Demonstrates "stream of cards" interface
  • emphasizes the "material design" of this: rich touch-based interaction; long presses, wipes, etc. can give the small surface a lot of flexibility.
  • voice reminders: "Remind me to check my mail when I get home" -- "home" is a recognized location, too.
  • slight demo failure in showing voice input on Google Wear watch, but "moving on, that note *would* have been saved "
  • from wrist, quick replies can be sent, calls can be rejected / sent to voice mail; phone an also be set to Do Not Disturb with a single swipe.Can be used to control devices around you, with voice controls
  • ("play some music" to control enabled devices, with playback display on wrist.)
  • heartbeat sensors
  • turn by turn dirs on the wrist, from Google maps
  • Full Android Wear SDk out today: most API from Android available here, which means you can do things like read the sensors etc. to make apps that run on the watch itself, as well as ones that connect as an interface to a phone or other device.
  • Demo of Eat24 shows (and gets oddly huge applause) ordering and paying for pizza straight from a phone; guess this a pro-pizza crowd. Bigger applause when he says this runs on the watch itself,
  • apps can be synched such that reading text on phone scrolls in on watch and vice versa
  • big applause for claim that all the new watches are water resistant, so not risky to cook with them. (Food references again ;))
  • Lyft app: "Call me a car" into watch, gets location from phone, calls a driver. Pretty slick.
  • LG watch: available to order later today
  • Samsung joining the Android War set (also available later today); Moto 360 -- "later this summer" draws uniform groans from crowd.

Update 7: Patrick Brady on bringing Android to the car

  • intros Android Auto - connected apps and service s drivers want in the car
  • Andy Brenner, product manager, shows how a phone connected to a car's display can integrate with the phone, while the apps all run on the phone.
  • simplified display, just a few app icons, simple control surfaces
  • Navigation, audio controls
  • Google maps: in Auto, local search, suggestions, live traffic, turn-by-turn nav
  • Completely voice enabled: Demo: "How late is the de Young museum open?" gets a spoken reply, to which "Navigate there" does what you'd hope it would -- starts navigation, with map.
  • Voice enabled messaging
  • Big applause line: "Today we're announcing the Google Auto SDK."
  • More than 40 automakers signed up for Open Automotive alliance, first cars "before the end of this year."

Update 8: Dave Burke back for Android in the living room:

  • introduces Android TV: "not a new platform: just same level of attention as tablets and phones have gotten:" one SDK for all form factors
  • In L, Live TV -- gives way to integrate sources like HDMI.
  • Press Home, it overlays over the live content. Not quite Apple TV remote, but nicely simplified options.
  • Basically just needs a D-pad style input device; an Android watch, phone, etc, works for this. Surely there will be dedicated devices, too.
  • Voice a big one, incl. for complex searches ""Oscar nominated movies of 2012"
  • 10-foot view UI emphasis
  • Gameplay through Android TV on "the biggest screen in your house."
  • You can also use it like a Chromecast -- play phone / tablet through TV, stereo, etc.
  • Says new lines from Sony, Sharp, Philips, will all run it; more from Acer, Asus, etc. later.
  • Console style gaming.
  • SDK: ADT one, available to debs through sign-up page.

Update 9: Rishi Chandra on Chromecast:

  • Google Cast, as mentioned, coming to Google TV devices
  • Lots of Google Cast Ready Apple's: went from just a few (like NetFlix) to many dozens. Any developer (iOS, ChromeOS, Android) can extend their app to the Google Cast world through SDK.
  • Today, announcing new list of apps at Chromecast.com/app
  • Easy authentication (opt-in feature, so you can control, though), no complicated hassle of adding a new user who wants to show you a quick home movie.
  • When TVs not being watched? New "GoogleCast "ambient" experience background pictures, etc. (Pretty, but wouldn't it be nice to save the electricity, in most cases?) Some nice eye candy in form of curated, "safe" pictures though, and fun geographic-centric ones, too, drawn from Google Earth.
  • Emphasis on Voice search
  • All android devices can be attached / streamed through it

Update 10: Sundar Pichae back again to talk ChromeOS and Android for Work:

  • Top 10 highest rated lap opts on Amazon: all chromebooks 6x growth this year in k-12 schools
  • notices from phone can now show up on Chromebooks
  • apps, too: This seems to be couched in "some apps," *but* for those apps (like Evernote), "everything just works." On the Chromebook as it is on the phone or tablet, forever and ever, amen.
  • Flipboard, too.
  • Profiles: lets you use corporate stuff, but with full separation of data, and high security.
  • For developers, no modification of existing apps needed.
  • Gives a nod to Samsung for developing Knox, says that work is now integrated with the Android ecosystem.
  • In fall, a certified Android to work program.
  • Announces Native office editing within Google Docs suite of editors -- works on MS Office docs directly (nice!) rather than converting to Google Docs as intermediary.

Update 11: Urs Hoelzle on Google Cloud platform

(Delayed by lunch lines and network downtime -- sorry)

  • Compute - compute engine, app engine
  • Storage - cloud storage, cloud SQL
  • App Service - Big Query, Cloud endpoints
  • No need for constructs of upfront purchase
  • New cloud debugging features: Cloud save, Debugger, Trace, Monitoring (comes from Stackdriver, recent Google acquisition)
  • Announces Cloud Dataflow: managed service for analyzing arbitrarily large datasets, either batch or in real time. Eric Schmidt demos with World Cup data.

[Note: Hoelzle interrupted by protester: "You all work for a totalitarian company that builds robots to kill people."]

Update 12: Elllie Powers: Project Manager for Google Play

  • Her domain: how Google helps developers create, distribute (including searchability), and monetize apps
  • making testing easier: Announces that "the appurify team is joining Google"; cross-platform cloud testing service
  • Google fit platform preview - single set of APIs to manage apps, sensors on cross-platform devices, incl. wearables. This is coming "in a few weeks."

Update 13: And finally ...

Google IO has a tradition of giving out cool hardware to attendees; this year, the first thing announced is low-key by any standards, never mind the glare of the tablets, phones, etc. that have been handed out are previous IOs: called Cardboard, it's the result of one of the "20 percent" projects that Google employees are encouraged to take part in: A chunk of cardboard slightly wider and slightly thinner than a trade paperback can be folded and velcroed in place to create a pair of goggles, into which a smartphone can be inserted. Instant movie viewing environment for the airplane, if you don't mind feeling curious stares. It's no Occulus Rift; maybe it's best used as a stereoscope.

The real swag at I/O this year, though, is a smart watch, or rather two of them: Samsung and LG watches will be given out tomorrow to the several thousand attendees (one each), and later in the summer, Motorola's will be, too. (By post.) Interesting: there aren't that many modern computing devices with round interfaces. (Not zero, but not many.)

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Google I/O 2014 Begins [updated]

Comments Filter:
  • by i kan reed (749298) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @11:18AM (#47315967) Homepage Journal

    And here at google we're showing a new product that will aid you with everyday tasks... aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand it's shut down in beta.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @11:27AM (#47316037)

    I always thought Google was a one step forward two back kind of company. They dabble in this and that and your never sure what will stick and what won't.
    Many like myself don't get to cozy with Google for just such a reason. I don't care to commit to a application, a device or a ecosystem like Google's for fear of something being dropped or changed. Its like Chromebook's, people buy them on price and see if it fits after the fact. So many whine about Google Doc's but how many actually do homework before diving into such a change? No, today people make choices a lot because of the low price or free. I for one pass on a lot of Google stuff, I think its more of a novelty or a geek dream then being useful in the "real" world. Google to me does not set the stage for tech in the future. It merely throws random ideals out there to see if anyone really thinks like Google.
    A couple examples is Android and Chrome OS (Chromebooks). While Android has become the major smartphone player, Chrome OS has simply been a very broken OS installed in some very cheap notebooks. The Chromebooks are replacements for that Netbook crowd and Android actually excels beyond what Apple can do with IOS. How can one company focus so much on Android but allow Chrome OS to rot? I had one of the first Nexus 7's and thought it was well done. Then I bought a Chromebook from Samsung and thought WTF is this? Its hard to believe Chrome OS and Android both come from Google. I hope Google reflects and re focuses on core projects and ejects the hobbyist crap that seems to plague the company.

  • by Daetrin (576516) on Wednesday June 25, 2014 @01:20PM (#47317221)
    Looking at pics and descriptions in a couple live blogs, and based on that i've got to say that i didn't like live tiles when Microsoft created them and i don't like them any better now the Google seems to be copying them.

    Also, reportedly "Each of your active Chrome tabs shows up individually in the app switcher". If that's true i so do not want. I've got over 90 tabs open in chrome on my phone right now, and about an equal number in Firefox. I do _not_ want to have to sort through all that just to switch apps.

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