The Google I/O developer conference this week is expected to focus on three main areas you might call the three C’s: cloud, client and connectivity.
“This is the year Google comes into its own with our developer programs,” Vic Gundotra, Google’s vice president of engineering, said in an interview with eWEEK.
Those are big words from a man who spent 15 years at Microsoft and helped hone the software giant’s developer outreach strategy. Gundotra joined Google in June 2007 after leaving Microsoft, where he was a general manager of platform evangelism.
Comparing Google’s developer outreach with that of Microsoft, Gundotra said Google is a little different in that its offerings are based on an open Web platform “that Google does not control. It’s a much happier place to be and it changes the tone of your developer relations. It’s always fun to be on the side of right.”
He said there are three key ways that Google plans to move the Web forward, and those will be the core areas of focus at the Google I/O conference May 28 and 29 in San Francisco.
The first area is the cloud. Gundotra said the mainframe era was one of centralized computing, and things flipped when the PC era arrived. However, “in the Internet era we went backward-the interesting apps require cloud computing,” he said. “One of our initiatives is to make the cloud more accessible. Google App Engine puts the power back in the hands of developers.”
Google App Engine enables developers to run their Web applications on Google’s infrastructure. The Google App Engine will be a key focus at Google I/O, Gundotra said.
Another thrust will be the client, Gundotra said. “We said we’d go back to the model of simple deployment with a browser,” he said. “We want you to have that ease of deployment of a browser, but we also want to put more power in developers’ hands to deliver rich applications.”
The third area of focus is connectivity, particularly between the client and the cloud, Gundotra said.
“Connectivity is a very big issue for developers, especially when it comes to what end points you target,” he said. “For instance, the mobile phone market is fragmented, and we’re looking at what Google can do to raise the power of the browser on all phones.”
Gundotra noted the Google Android effort to deliver an open and free mobile platform.
Google I/O marks the company’s second major developer event. Last year at the Google Developer Day 2007, the company announced Google Gears, an open-source technology for creating offline Web applications.
“This year is the first time we’ve called it Google I/O; it’s Google’s premier developer event,” Gundotra said. Google initially expected up to 1,500 developers to attend, but that number will swell to more than 2,500.
“It’s been a very busy year for us with developers,” Gundotra said. “The conference lets us step back and put everything in perspective.”
As a company “born on the Web,” Google has been able to avoid the traps of “software monarchies such as Windows, Mac and Palm,” because the Google platform, like the Web, has been shaped “by consensus and it emerged because of adoption,” Gundotra said.
“Google, perhaps more than any other company, benefits from the open Web,” he said.