Went to Google I/O extended 2014 at the Foundation Institute Colombo, Sri Lanka yesterday. Again a big thank you must go to mobitel for organizing such an event. Surely a hefty sum of money would have been needed to pull something of that scale. Tnx guys.
So what’s my take on this year big event of Google? Nothing much to be excited about other than a very few exciting things to look forward to. Compared to last years I/O this one is barely up there in terms of innovation.
L Developer Preview and Enhancements to Apps
The new Android OS to come up, Code named L. was introduced. Largely a user interface update with some new backend APIs this new release of Android may allow Google to capture some market share that have been lost or could not tap into (if at all) due to user interface lapses. However for Apple, Windows phone and BB10 users there is nothing new here.
In terms of mobile marketing perspective the improved app indexing will largely benefit people like me. It allows to track what your users doing in your app in a more visual and engaging way. The best part is you can link any inside section of an app directly from an outside source. So now the user does not have to find the relevant content from navigating from the beginning of an app. great stuff.
Also Google showed the numbers of android and android apps adaptation has grown rapidly (in some matrix almost 10x) all around the globe. Providing tough competition to other players in the market.
As opposed to the last year’s IO this time there was a huge focus on wearable devices. Mainly the smart watch. You need your android phone to sync and link up with your watch and all the important notifications, apps notifications and other relevant and highly important details are now more easily accessible. This would reduce the number of times an average user has to look into his phone daily (120 times a day as per Google) to get the gist of whats going on.
When you install an app that has wearable support on your Android phone, automatically the wearable part is installed on your watch. So it is synced and up to date with whats in your phone. But the downside of this (Google did not mention it) that your phone must always link up with your watch (because the watch as no SIM card) and to keep all these things alive on a busy day will require a massive battery. Which even now is a problem area for most of us.
The level of which these devices integrate is amazing. One example of this is when you near the phone with the wearable you don’t have to unlock your phone first. It knows that you are nearby and you are the one who is using your phone. If the wearable is not around then you need to draw the unlock pattern. Which I think is a cool feature that should come with part of the package. The same scenario is also applying when you are near your chromebook with your phone.
So for wearables they have released a bunch of new APIs so developers can use them to do their magic.
I feel obliged to write a bit more about this coz there is so much you can do with this kind of technology and for me it was the highlight of this years IO.
There was one example where a cooking recipe is being followed by a housewife. Her phone has the full recipe open through an app and the steps in a nutshell are displayed on the watch. She does not need to handle her phone because after completing each step of the recipe all she needs to do is swipe the watch and go to step two. If she needs more info, she can look into her phone and the recipe on that is displaying her current step maintaining perfect sync with the watch. Also you can set timing reminders as given by the recipe right-in your watch interface so you’ll know exactly when to get the dish out of the oven. No more burnt dinner. Bravo. I think that sums up the whole wearable thing.
Just like apple and blackberry QNX android is gaining ground on integrating their mobile OS to cars/vehicles. So you can plug your phone in to the car and through the car controls (steering wheel buttons, cockpit buttons and the touch display itself) you can now operate your phone, media and navigation. Still lots of areas to explore and in future we might see our vehicles being fully synced with our phones so we’ll know when to service it, what part of is giving warnings right from our phone. So far 20+ car manufacturers has signed up with them.
Just like you’ve expected you can turn your TV into a smart display with android. Games, entertainment, collaboration and communication can all be done through your TV which can no longer be called a TV. Also they have redesigned their interfaces (EX: play store) for android TV so the experience will be seamless with the rest of the television experience. Chromecast and GoogleCast are all part of this dimension where you can share what’s in your phone on the big screen and this works remotely too. Providing your loved ones who are thousands of miles away with live synced videos of your B’day party. Cool.
Improvements to Google Drive/Docs has been quite good as you now no longer need to convert .docx to Google docs file type to edit. You can simply edit the .docx in Google docs directly and share it with your other collaborators. They have introduced the Drive business version which is 10USD per user per month.
More information to follow in the cloud services section. Stay in touch with this post. I’ll be back…. 🙂