Google’s ambition is second to none in the tech world. Over the past week or so I’ve been immersed in the experience that is Google I/O - Google’s yearly developer conference. I must say, that it’s easily one of
the most exciting events around for the lucky few able to make the trip out to San Francisco.
On Day 1, during the three and half hour Keynote, Google debuted a slew of enhancements to many of their existing products and services. Most notable, were the changes to their extremely popular Android operating system. Equally impressive, were the improvements intended for developers across a large portion of Google’s services; which included location improvements for Google Play services for Android, Google Play store developer console, and various new features intended for use in education.
In addition to the Google Play improvements, Google also showcased its progress with Chrome platform, as well as new features added to the search giant’s social platform Google+. Speculation around the conference was that many of the new Google+ features were aimed to put them in more serious competition with Facebook, boasting automatic image enhancement, automatic hash tagging and filtering of posts, and an exciting new unified chat system named Google Hangouts. “Hangouts” features multi person video chatting, fast instant messaging, unified notifications across all your devices and even messaging for images.
In a rare occurrence, Google CEO Larry Page, took the stage near the end of the I/O keynote, explaining his lack of public appearances was due to a paralysis of the vocal cords. When Page took the stage, he didn’t sound like a CEO, businessman, or entrepreneur; instead he portrayed himself as a humble enthusiast -- saddened by the anti-competitive state of the tech industry -- yet, still excited about the possibilities of the future. He stated that he takes pride in his company and the tech community, which often surprises him with each new progression, sometimes taking inspiration directly from science fiction and making it reality.
Watch the full keynote
The keynote wasn’t all the excitement at I/O, however. During the entire 3 day conference, attendees were treated to a volume of sessions, ranging from lessons in Android Development, Web Development, Best Practices, App Marketing, Google Maps Development and Tech Talks. There were even Live Code labs where developers could collaborate with Googlers using their own snippets of code to try and improve upon their own projects.
Despite its bumpy launch, causing update issues (for mainly tablet users), Google+’s unified messaging service “Hangouts” was unveiled at Google I/O conference this week. Compatible with PC’s, Android and Apple devices.
The free Google app Hangouts enables users to synchronize: chat, video chat, photo sharing and Gmail all into one app (with encrypted messaging) while sending notifications and keeping a real time history accessible on all your devices. And, of course it includes group chat and group video chat - turning Google messaging services into a single service for users.
Tablet users, not to worry, Google managed to slip in a new update making Hangouts compatible with various tablet sizes.
Rumor has it that Google Hangouts is intended to give Facebook a run for its money. Some feel that it has a ways to go with the challenges of getting Facebook users to transition over to Google+ Hangouts.