3 Day Google I/O 2013 Roundup
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Anything having to do with a tech giant like Google is going to make news, and recently they (Google) had a conference to showcase and highlight some of the new things they are rolling out. This is an exciting time for anyone who is a follower of Google and a proponent for new technology in general. This article will serve as a summary of all the awesomeness that took place during Google’s conference. It will go over many of the changes and iterations of their products and services and provide insight into what this means for consumers going forward.
Android: We are Legion:
One of the great things about Android is that it’s a great open source operating system. What this means for enthusiasts/hackers is that they can hack into their own phone and modify it in a way that suits their needs. For businesses, on the other hand, it means that they get to produce great quality phones for a very low price.
Since Android vs. iOS (Apple’s proprietary OS for their mobile devices) is an ongoing saga among tech journalist and their readers, news of Android’s 900 million activation’s rings clear to those who support the former OS. Yup, Google’s mobile software is being widely used and is continuing to grow for the foreseeable future. Boasting 48 billion app installs, developers would be hard-pressed to start producing for a widely used operating system.
More news from Android comes by way of a new integrated development environment (IDE) for the operating system in Android Studio. With so many users now on their software, Google is matching this with something for their producers: a dedicated environment for Android App development which aims to increase the ease and efficiency of creating for the operating system.
Samsung Galaxy S4:
The leading phone in the Android arena is the Samsung Galaxy. During the conference it was revealed that the newest Galaxy will come unlocked and support LTE from the gate. The phone has 16GB of internal storage and will cost 649USD.
Many people are purchasing their products through their mobiles. This trend has been a boon for many businesses as people are more likely to impulsively shop when they are on the go. Google has now made this process even simpler by providing a new “Checkout Button”. This button allows consumers to make purchases with a tap of a button. Often times, if you like to shop around, then you will end up putting your financial information in again and again because of the different sites. This sucks because phones aren’t made for typing, but rather for touching and tapping. But now, with Google’s nifty feature, shopping will be quick and easy. Put your information into Google’s system and then you’re ready to shop.
Google: Let’s Play:
Google Play is the app store for Android. It has seen some different designs over the years, but there most recent incarnation has been the best. Though there are still many improvements coming down the line as the Google I/O conference showcased.
The concept of integration is the holy grail for businesses and developers alike: by making everything standard across the board, business become more streamlined (read: profitable) and developers deal with less headache. During the conference it was explained that Google Play will allow gaming integration among devices and even operating systems. Stats and games will now be available on your phone, the web, and even on iOS.
Going along with this is Google’s messaging service called Google Cloud Messaging. Just like games being integrated among devices and mediums, users will now be able to chat as well.
Music by Google:
Yes, Google will be offering a music subscription service. This news came as a shocker to some as many don’t really associate Google with music. But by paying 9.99USD per month, users will be able to subscribe to this service that focuses on customization.
Google: Iterating Social:
Google+ is Google’s social network. At first invite only, the site went public soon after and saw a lot of use with people in the tech industry. Although not as popular as Facebook, Google+ has been going through changes over the past few years that have allowed it to grow on a consistent basis. One of the changes talked about at Google I/O is the re-design of Google+. Now with a 3 column layout, Google is making this site very attractive for newer users. On top of this is the intelligence that the site offers by allowing uploaded content to be automatically hash tagged. Now that’s Meta.
Another feature that intelligent feature of Google+ is in its enhancement in photography. Users love to upload picture and manipulate the images. Instagram even got a 1 billion dollar valuation because of this. So with users uploading pictures constantly, Google put in a feature that allows the images to be enhanced automatically without having to purchase some high end software like Photoshop. Speaking of Photoshop, Google has also included photo-editing tools for its social networking site as well.
Google Maps: Taking You There:
Google’s number one business is undoubtedly search, but its mapping software is a close second. Ask anyone to find somewhere on the map through their computer and chances are they will immediately turn to Google Maps.
The new features are for developers, but this will obviously trickle down to intuitive ways to use the software by users. Developers are getting several location APIs that allow more efficient use of Google Maps’ geolocation. The first feature offers developers a low power way to deliver more accurate locations, so if you are travelling, lag time is diminished and the location of the cursor representing you is more accurate. Next is a feature that allows developers to trigger events based on location. If you using an app and go to a certain spot on the map, a developer can tell the app to do some sort of event depending on where you are in real time. Lastly is the feature that allows Google Maps to see what vehicle you’re using to get from place to place: in essence it will be able to tell if you are walking, cycling, or driving.
Google’s laptop, called the Chromebook, continues to improve. At once, a product that was expensive and offered always online functionality at a time where the internet wasn’t quite as filled with useful apps as it is now, is becoming a sleek, modern competitor to the likes of MacBook. Chromebook Pixel is the newest version of Chromebook and features more pixels on screen for higher resolutions, a screen that is able to utilize touch gestures, boots up in seconds for efficiency, and backlit keys for computing at different levels of light. This laptop is easily Google’s latest and greatest.
Glass by Google:
Of course no Google conference can be complete without the single most anticipated product in years: Google’s Glass. This is a wearable computer that is attached to a set of glasses. It allows you to take pictures and offer the wearer different kinds of real-world information. Although not the product that Google really keyed on during the conference, many were clearly interested by the look of longing among those who didn’t have them. The debate will continue to be waged by those who see this as the future of technology and those who see this as a blatant invasion of privacy.
All in all this has been a very successful conference for Google and for those who follow technology. There are loads of new features and services to keep developers busy and consumers happy.