Google I/O 2013's opening keynote on May 15 didn't have anything like the showy parachutists who landed atop the conference hall at last year's gathering or a bombshell announcement about something as cool as Google Glass as in 2012, but at the same time, plenty of innovation is on tap.
That's the opinion of several IT analysts, who told eWEEK that this year's edition of the sixth annual I/O Developers Conference is instead showing off a more mature Google as it works to build its products out rather than make a Glass-like splash this year.
Last year's show was certainly the stuff of legends, featuring the introduction of Google Glass, and an amazing live-video stunt with parachutists from an airship wearing Google Glass headsets landing on the Moscone West rooftop and repelling, bicycling and running into the conference to the cheers of thousands in order to give the wearable computers to Google co-founder Sergey Brin—who was already wearing one himself. Also unveiled were two new devices, the Nexus 7 tablet and the Nexus Q cloud-based home entertainment hub, along with the Jelly Bean version of Android.
This year, the big announcements so far haven't been as breathtaking, but they have been intriguing and steady, including a first-ever Google Play subscription music streaming service, new Google Play game saving and sharing services, new APIs for Android that allow developers to create apps that can be restricted to specific locations, and developer tools that will help them improve the sales and marketing of their apps for Android.
That's not really much of a surprise, said analyst Daniel Maycock of Slalom Consulting. "I think they're maturing their existing capabilities rather than try to break out a whole bunch of new ones," said Maycock in an interview with eWEEK. "There's the initial invasion, where everything comes out all at once, with new platforms and devices. It's all new, new, new. To entrench yourself, you then have to update and mature what's out there."
Not having a blockbuster announcement this year like Glass won't hurt Google, he said. "I think they've gone from a sprint to a marathon, and they know that's what it takes to win the long game."
Instead, what Google is doing is continuing to refine and develop what it already has so it can improve its products, said Maycock. "They got people's attention. Now they need to keep it."