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The annual Google I/O conference took place on June 25-26 in San Francisco. The conference aimed to educate developers from around the world on what’s new with the wide variety of technologies that they support. A few Pivots from the Toronto, Boulder and San Francisco offices were lucky enough to be in attendance. With over 100 different one hour sessions available and only 10 slots to cover them all, every single person had a different and unique experience at the conference. I’ll share the highlights from my personal experience. I’ll cover the following topics: Android sessions, other interesting sessions, and freebies.
Having spent the past two years developing Android applications, I primarily chose sessions related to Android. However, I also attended a few other sessions not related to Android, which I enjoyed as well.
This was a two and a half hour summary on everything new across all of Google’s different technology initiatives. Highlights included:
My thoughts: Definitely skim through to the topics that are of interest as there is a little bit for everyone. It was a bit on the long side to watch the entire thing through.
Two members of the Android UI Toolkit team and the Android System UI team discuss the key highlights of the “L release.”
My thoughts: This will be useful for Android developers to watch if they want to get a quick idea of what has changed. Ultimately, reading the online Android documentation will still be required.
A very enthusiastic member of the Google Play team discusses new functionality and benefits of the latest v5.0 Google Play Services SDK.
My thoughts: Reading the Google Play Services SDK change notes online may be more concise.
Ten Google employees from various Android teams participate in a one hour Q/A session with the audience.
My thoughts: Was not particularly useful as many of the issues developers were facing could not be resolved from the answers provided.
Two Google engineers unveil two Google offerings to replace the backend in any Android applications: Google Cloud Endpoints API and Google Cloud Save API. With a web console and an Android SDK, they claim “Zero backend programming.”
A few designers from both Google Ventures and Google X teams discuss an approach that they’ve used for over 100 Google initiatives to prototype and test any product in 5 days. They hypothesize that the common startup approach of quickly building an mvp product, releasing it, getting feedback and updating their product is wrong. Using a data driven approach in their initial 5 days sprint allows them to make a better first guess at what the original mvp should be.
My thoughts: An interesting video that could be applicable to everyone (Designers, Product Managers and Engineers).
A member of the Google Earth Engine team discusses how they were able to work with various non-profit organizations to solve real world problems by leveraging this technology. One example was where they were able to detect illegal deforestation in the rainforests of South America and were able to assist the local police to stop this.
My thoughts: A very inspiring and interesting talk.
My thoughts: Google is clearly making a big push into the wearable market by providing two watches to every developer who attended. The default functionality is very limited and only serves as a companion to your Android device. Having an additional device that needs to be recharged every day is not something that I am used to yet. It will be interesting to see what improvements are made and what kinds of applications, developers will be able to create.
My thoughts: Cardboard is a piece of Cardboard with two lenses; it folds into a contraption which can hold an Android phone. Once a specific Android application is loaded onto the device, it acts like an Oculus Rift competitor that only costs a fraction of the price ($2 in material + Android phone). I was skeptical about this freebie when it was announced at the keynote. However, after trying it out and showing it to other Pivots around the office, I was very impressed.
If you are interested, or if the above links are not working, the majority of the sessions at Google I/O were recorded and made available online on the Google Developer group YouTube channel. A link is available here: https://www.youtube.com/user/GoogleDevelopers/videos