I may not be technically qualified to analyze all the new announcements made at this week’s Google IO purely from a programmer/developer’s point of view, but I find myself qualified enough to comment on the overall outcome of the many things that came out of Moscone West, generally, as someone who is closely associated with the industry.
The beauty of Google IO is that it is a little more grounded and humble compared to let’s say Apple WWDC. Not that I have a problem with the latter approach. It’s after all a dog and pony marketing event & you got to be in your A game. Google just likes to adopt a different strategy. With the Google umbrella casting a much larger shadow on a typical global citizen’s daily digital life than that of Apple’s, it is simply impressive that this strategy works for them, every year.
To me, what clearly stood out was how much Android centric Google IO this year was. This also highlighted the significance of the times we live in – Mobile, Internet of Things (IoT) and all new innovations around them.
Well. Google acknowledged that it is going to focus on ‘usability’ with Android M. It’s not that Android is not usable in its current form. But the general focus with L was on design. So with M, Google may just be polishing off the usability issues that came with L. Again I am not a programmer, so wouldn’t know how to technically break down the improvements. For example, the ability to change permissions on the fly in an app is such a leap. Improvements like these will put Android always ahead of iOS when it comes to features and what one can do with them as a developer.
No one saw how quickly or how powerfully Apple Watch will dominate this wearables market space. With so many different Android based watches to choose from as opposed to a single device in the iOS world, Android wearables have sort of turned out to be secondary choices for many users who are looking for smartwatches. With some really new cool features that were announced this year, it is clear that Google will continue to show Apple how to get it right in smartwatches and Apple wouldn’t mind playing the catch-up game as long as they can keep their market share this high.
Brillo and Weave
Internet of Things – Just a few months ago, this was such a complicated phrase to explain. Now, it seems like everyone talks about it. What a rapidly changing time we live in!! We are definitely living through a phase in technological development where we are inventing more solutions to solve problems created by our previous technological innovations, than actually inventing some completely new solutions. Brillo and Weave are good examples of this. Brillo is sort of like Android lite, an OS to be used by all devices that are connected to your life’s IoT while Weave is the new protocol which the devices will have to follow to communicate with one another. I know that is putting it simply, but that’s exactly how they pitched it. Let’s see how rapidly they take over our lives. I am not going gaga over them yet.
Well. In some ways, all Google fans could slam my statement – But I for one feel, this is one of the few areas where Google is playing catch up with Apple. Nothing that they announced as new features in Google Photos made me go “wow”, the lifelong free storage for Google Photos notwithstanding. I will be very curious to see how many people really feel that the free storage is an incentive to switch to Google Photos. This may be another area where Google treads the dangerous privacy issue in a ‘greyish’ sort of manner, if you know what I mean.
I will keep it short. Google Now is really how Google is trying to make all your frequently used apps redundant. As conflicting as it may be, it is very impressive nevertheless. Google Now may be the only thing you need soon on your Smartphones.
Cloud Test lab
Another eyeopening announcement. We as a team, haven’t fully discussed how this could change our testing scenarios. It is a well known fact that there is one thing that has been haunting the Android development labs all around the world and that is the fragmentation issue. With something like this, Google could potentially eliminate that being a factor to consider while developing your next Android app. We have been seeing spurts of some third party services offerings along these lines and we were interested in looking at those for our internal use. But if Google can provide something like this which has all its blessings, then we don’t have to look too far for this service in future.
Expeditions was the biggest breakthrough announcement yesterday (for me). It may be hard for to express why in a very eloquent way, but the classroom expeditions demo awakened the student in me.
The GoPro rig combined with the kind of VR editing options you have, which in combination with youtube being a new platform to actually play/watch VR videos, using a ridiculously simple device like a cardboard…….I think we are sitting on the next major technological innovation.
GoPro rig may not be for everyone as I expect the cost to run into a few thousand dollars, but the day is not far off when all of us can sit in the luxury of our couches and perhaps discuss the rate at which climate change is happening all around us, as we watch a live VR capture of another big ice shelf breaking away from the coast of Antarctica.
And that, dear readers, would be the ironical and the bittersweet future we all can look forward to!