Google commenced the 6th annual developer conference, Google I/O, in San Francisco yesterday.
The conference began with the three and a half hour keynote address revealing Google’s innovations and future plans across their broad spectrum of platforms. The keynote even featured a surprise appearance from Google CEO Larry Page.
Although there was no announcement of Android 4.3 as many had expected, there were some exciting, innovative announcements worth shouting about.
Here’s a brief recap of Google IO Day 1, we’re going to keep this round up short and sweet – enjoy!
All New Google Maps
One of the biggest and highly anticipated announcements at Google I/O was the launch of the all new Google Maps.
Featuring new innovations such as satellite pictures with ‘real time clouds’, the ability to draw tailored maps for every search a user makes highlight the things that matter most, and improved interaction showing a broader range of helpful information, the new Google Maps promises to be a more intuitive next generation of maps.
Newly Designed Google +
Another huge announcement was the changes coming to Google+. It was announced that over the coming year Google+ will see the introduction of 41 new features related primarily to the stream, hangouts and photo section of Google+.
One of the major changes, available now, is the move from a single column to a multi-column design depending on the size and orientation of the users screen.
Many people have already pointed out similarities between the new Google+ layout and the likes of Facebook and Pinterest which may have heavily influenced Google’s move to the new design.
Google also announced the introduction of a new feature called related hashtags, automatically providing hashtags related to stories within the stream, allowing the user to follow up on a particular topic. Hash tags have been available within Google+ since birth, however this is a big move to promote this functionality within Google+, presumably in an attempt to rival the massive hash tag usage of Twitter.
In addition to these awesome features Google also announced various changes to hangouts including richer and more responsive messaging, conversation history, free 1-to-1 or group video calls, with a stand-alone app for Android and iOS devices and PC platforms.
Also there are various improvements to photos including auto backups, highlights, improved/auto photo enhancement tools.
Visit the Google+ Project to see all the lovely Google+ enhancements and niceties.
Multi-Screen & Conversational Search
Amit Singhal unveiled the new “conversational search” a Google development which will provide a search engine that can answer your questions. Singhal signalled that simply saying “OK Google,…” followed by a question Google will be able to communicate with a user, and provide relevant information without the user having to ask.
In the Google Inside Search blog Singhal mentions various improvements to knowledge graph to provide better/smarter answers to questions.
Read the full story from Amit Singhal here – http://insidesearch.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-multi-screen-and-conversational.html
Google Play Music All Access Subscription Service
Google Play Music All Access is a subscription based music streaming service set to rival similar streaming services such as Spotify. With the ability to combine Google Play Music with a users own music collection via the cloud, Google’s Engineering Director Chris Yerga call All Access “This is radio without rules”. No doubt this announcement will not go down well with Spotify, nor with Apple who have reportedly considered launching their own music service.
Here’s AndroidCentral’s look at All Access.
New Google Now Cards
Six new cards will soon be launched for Google Now, Google’s app for finding answers to user-initiated queries. The new cards include reminders, which automatically notify you when you have appointments or plans, a public transport search as well as music, TV shows, books and video games.
Samsung Galaxy S4 on Google Play
Google have teamed up with Samsung to deliver an all new version of the Galaxy S4. Available to buy in the US in June the new Android device has been developed especially for Google Play combining Google’s top of the range software applications with Samsungs cutting-edge hardware. Available up to 16Gb with 4G LTE support, the handset itself will run a core version of Android 4.2 and will remain completely unlocked with a full unlocked bootloader, great for developers! The fact that the handset will run the core version of Android will bode well with users, allow them to upgrade to each new version quickly and easily.
Google Wallet & Gmail
Google have integrated Google Wallet into Gmail, allowing users to quickly and easily send money to Gmail and non-Gmail email addresses, for free!
Find out more bout sending money via Gmail on the Google Commerce blog.
Google I/O 2013: Keynote
If you’ve got a spare 4 hours you can watch the full keynote from Google I/O 2013 here!
What to Expect on Google I/O 2013 Day 2?
Well there you have it, that the round-up of day 1 at Google I/O 2013. There are a lot of Google I/O sessions on the agenda for day 2 so we’ll keep an ear to the ground for any new announcements. Perhaps the eagerly awaited launch of Android 4.3? You can also follow all of the days events for yourself using the #io2013 hashtag.
What Do You Think?
What are your thoughts on the first day of Google I/O? Are you excited by any of the developments? Do you think Google have over-stepped the mark with the Facebook/Pinterest style G+ interface? Disappointed Android 4.3 wasn’t announced?
We’d love to hear your thoughts! So please feel free to leave a comment!
PS: Google Support for Organisation Logo Schema.org Markup
Expanding their support for Schema.org markup, Google announce yesterday (not at I/O!) support for organisation logos, allowing business to specify which image Google use as the business logo within search results.
Read more and see examples at the Google Webmaster Central Blog.