Google I/O 2014 started yesterday and, thanks to a lengthy first-day keynote, the search giant has already made plenty of headlines one after another. And for good reason, as it unveiled new software, new hardware (albeit none of it was Nexus-branded) and a number of sweeping changes to its portfolio. Say what you will, but Google sure had plenty of interesting things to show without even announcing a new Nexus tablet (as we were used to in the past two years).
The amount of information from the conference is overwhelming, so here is the tl;dr version.
Ever since Google released its two operating systems -- the one for computers and the one for phones and tablets -- users have talked of a merger of the two. So far that hasn't happened, and at Google I/O today it still didn't. But things got a bit cozier.
The company unveiled closer integration between the two platforms, bringing phone notifications to your computer. Is your phone ringing? Your Chromebook will popup a notice telling you who it is. Got a text message? That too will appear on your notebook. In fact, Chromebooks will even notify you of low battery life on your mobile device, letting you know it's time to charge it.
As expected, one of the big new announcements at Google’s I/O conference was Android Auto which takes Google’s mobile operating system into vehicles.
Android Auto runs on your smartphone but the apps and features are mirrored and can be controlled through a touchscreen in the vehicle. The car-specific interface is a simplified version of the forthcoming (and unnamed) Android L release, with larger less distracting 'touch targets'.
There were a lot of big unveilings at Google I/O -- an overhaul of Google+, updated maps, an on-demand music streaming service, and much more. But perhaps one of the most intriguing revelations was Hangouts.
This name may well seem familiar, but it now refers to a unified messaging system that caters for iOS, Android and Chrome users. There are apps and extensions available for each of these platforms, and the idea is to bring all Google related communication into one place.
This comes as little surprise, with rumors and leaks being rampant, but Google today unveils a new version of its popular Maps application at its I/O conference. A sign-up page had briefly been available earlier in the day, allowing users a glimpse at the new features. Then of course, there is a listing for "Google Maps: Into the Future" right on the conference site. Now we receive confirmation.
The new update brings a number of features that do, in fact, bring the service "into the future". The updates are for both mobile (tablet and smartphone) and browser -- some for each.
The Google I/O keynote has revealed some major changes to Google+. Highlights include a new multi-column stream aimed not only at providing a cleaner design but also at offering greater depth to the user experience.
The columns are customizable so that you can organize them to show the things that are most important to you. Tiles of information can be flipped to show alternative details and thanks to clever landmark recognition technology you can click on a picture to find more information about the location.
One thing that surrounds Google I/O is rumors -- almost as much as an Apple event. We have heard of an X phone from Motorola, we have seen a possible Nexus 5 from LG, and the latest is a Google branded version of the new Samsung Galaxy S4. So which one is the winner in this strange sweepstakes?
The latest rumor turns out to be the most accurate, as Google unveils its own flavor of the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Android maker is taking the new darling of the smartphone market and making it a Nexus phone, just not in name.
Google is holding its Google I/O day 1 keynote at 9am PT and you can watch it right here on BetaNews.
We will of course be bringing you stories covering all the big announcements as they happen.
Rumors of what to expect include a revamped Google Maps, Android 4.3, a new music service set to rival Spotify, and even a Google branded Galaxy S4. Let’s see which of those comes true.
Blink and you missed it. Registration for Google's developer conference opened at 10 a.m. EDT this morning and sold out fast. With so much candy to offer -- Android Key Lime Pie, Chromebook Pixel, Glass and Google Now -- I'm not exactly surprised. Google I/O 2012 was big, and this year's event promises to be even bigger. I got the "Google I/O is sold out" on the registration page around 10:48 a.m.
Google charges $900 for general developer admission and $300 for students or school faculty. The event takes place in San Francisco from May 15-17. Considering the goodies Google gives attendees, some people might sign up just for the hope of free Glass or Pixel (don't hold your breath). Last year, attendees got Galaxy Nexus, Nexus Q and Nexus 7. Oh yeah, Train performed live.
It's a gargantuan war among industry titans and the winners will control everything for years to come
Damn, what an extraordinary month.
Let’s recap. First, we saw a spate of exciting new Ultrabook announcements, along with some x86- and ARM-based Windows 8 tablets at Computex. Then Apple introduced new spins of iOS and OS X for tablets and PCs, respectively, at its developer gathering. Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8 at the Windows Phone Summit -- and let's not forget the Surface tablet. And this week, Google rolled out new products and concepts buckshot-style at Google I/O, showcasing its first branded tablet, the Nexus 7, and Android 4.1, just to name a few.
From the halls of Adobe come the bells of impending death tolls. The master slayed its dragon. Flash is dead. The words from Adobe today in a public blog post mark another major blow to Flash, at least in the mobile form. The company announced that it will no longer develop Flash for Android after Android 4.0. There will be no certified implementations for Android 4.1.
Earlier this week, during its developer conference, Google officially unveiled the newest Android version -- Jellybean -- which replaces the stock browser with Chrome, for which Flash already isn't available. Google released Chrome for Android beta, supporting on v4 Ice Cream Sandwich, in February. From that perspective, the announcement, and timing, isn't super surprising.
Yesterday at Google I/O, Recon Instruments announced the HUD SDK. I couldn't get time at the booth until today, they were so busy. Recon is best known for its goggle mods, which put an Android computer inside a heads up display that provides alpine skiers and snowboarder with all kinds of useful information such as speed, navigation and location, among others. Oh, yeah, music, too.
The development kit turns the device into a platform. Now third parties can write their own apps -- it's no longer a Recon affair. Tyson Miller explains what the SDK means for the company, its customers, developers and future products.
One year ago today, Google moved onto Facebook's turf and stunned techdom in the process. How much has changed? Google+ now has a total of 250 million users. Of that figure, Google says 150 million people use the service at least monthly, and 50 percent of those active users do so daily. That doesn’t actually mean 75 million people go to Google+ every day though -- it just means that they have some sort of interaction with Google’s social features, or more likely, click +1 buttons.
Despite its reasonably impressive growth, Google+ still lags a long, long way behind Facebook, which has over 900 million users. Google knows it’s got its work cut out to persuade ordinary Facebook users to give Plus a try. Especially, as in most cases, their friends won’t be using it. To help encourage sampling and indeed regular usage, Google has consistently added more and more features to its site, and beefing up its mobile offerings. At Google I/O it announced a new app for Android smartphones with new profiles, a ribbon bar, and new notifications, as well as native tablet apps for both Android and iPad designed specifically for the larger screen sizes. The Android version is already available, with the iPad edition coming "soon".
Google has Amazon in its sights. The Mountain View, California company has announced Google Compute Engine, its answer to Amazon's Elastic Compute (EC2) service. While the company currently only offers its cloud platform in limited preview, it is likely wider availability will come in short order, likely later this year.
Google will provide customers with virtual machines in 1,2,4, and 8 core-configurations running Linux. Each virtual machine will come with 3.75GB of RAM per virtual core, and storage is provided through Google's new persistent block device, or its newly announced Google Cloud Storage product.
In its second day keynote at the I/O 2012 developer confab, Google announced it has brought the Chrome browser to Apple's iOS.
Macquarie analyst Ben Schacter recently released a report that stated that Apple may already be reviewing the app, estimating that it should be released second quarter of this year. However, due to the restrictions in Apple's developer terms of service, it's not going to be the full Chrome experience.