Throughout the conference, a variety of booths were set up displaying exciting new products such as the Leap Motion gaming system, the world’s first self-driving car, and of course, the much anticipated Google Glass exhibits. Various other booths touting new technologies like Nvidia’s new Project Shield (A handheld gaming focused Android device) were also abundant.
Google I/O attendees were treated to an after party on the first day, featuring impromptu concerts by Billy Idol and Steve Aoki. Fittingly, attending the party as well, were quite a few robots, including Bartenders which would make you any drink you could think of, RC fighters, a Giant steel barrel-crushing hand, and the Tesla Coil band Arc Attack.
Another exciting event that made quite a presence at the conference was Google’s side project by Niantic Labs: “Ingress” - an augmented reality game based on Google Maps, where players must go to locations in the real world using the GPS on their mobile devices to take over hotspots called “Portals”. On the second day of the conference, Niantic hosted an event for the game, named Operating Bowstring. The event was open to anyone in San Francisco and consisted of opposing factions in the game who participated in virtual battle (and probably looked crazy to everyone not playing the game) while roaming the city, before retreating to a local bar for a celebratory after party.Attendees were also treated to a new piece of Google hardware.
Their latest installment of the oft-criticized Chromebook line, the “Chromebook Pixel” was given to each attendee. Normally priced at $1450, it was a rather exciting gift to receive. The Chromebook series of laptops is often looked down upon for its perceived lack of functionality, which is likely why Google wanted to get them into the hands of developers. While the Chrome OS features can be fairly limited compared to other laptop platforms such as Windows or Mac OS X, about half of the conference attendees had their Pixels sporting a distribution of Ubuntu (operating system) by the second day of the conference. The Pixel is a unique laptop mostly due to the display, sporting an unheard of 2560x1700 resolution multi touch screen, which at the screen’s 12.85 inch display size, boasts a pixel density of 239 PPI. Personally though, I quite enjoy the Pixel as it’s about the coolest little laptop to happily type away a tech article on.All in all, the Google I/O conference was a fantastic experience for any Google developer or tech enthusiast. The opportunity to attend and meet so many interesting people, take classes directly from Google employees themselves, and experience the latest cutting edge technologies and announcements firsthand was wildly fun. I’ve most certainly got my fingers crossed in hopes of getting myself a ticket to next year’s I/O.
For those of you who’d like to have attended the sessions and tech talks, Google’s recorded them and made them public, stream them on YouTube