Google I/O 2013: 10 Key Takeaways
Google I/O 2013: 10 Key Takeaways
by Chris Preimesberger
Google Glass Everywhere
Hundreds of attendees—mostly Google employees—wore the new eyeglasses-borne cloud video devices for most of the three-day span of the conference. Some people in bathrooms became a little edgy when Glass-wearers entered, we're told. Legal issues around privacy undoubtedly will be tested as these devices start moving into day-to-day life.
World's Longest Keynote
Several Google execs took turns introducing new software and services in a way-too-long introductory presentation. People spent more time looking at their watches and smartphones than anything else, especially during the last hour leading up to lunch. Pictured: Hugo Barra, vice president of Product Management.
Many New APIs for Android Devices
Among these are APIs 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. This photo shows that even though Android is the most widely used mobile operating system in the world, there's still a long way to go: All the green areas on this map show where Android has less than 10 percent market share.
Google Play All Access Music Subscription Service
Google Play's new music subscription service allows users to access all the music in Google's collection on the fly and add it to their personal collections. All Access is priced at $9.99 per month, but subscribers who sign up before June 30 can get it for $7.99 per month. Google is also offering a free 30-day trial of the service, which will work on smartphones and tablets and through Web browsers. The service is launching in the United States and will be rolled out over time to other nations.
New APIs for Google Play Game Services
This includes a Cloud Save API that lets players save their game progress so they can return to the same place later, an Achievements API that marks player progress and a Leaderboard API to track the progress of players.
Fused Location Provider API
Location-based services are experiencing a huge upswing. This API makes determining user locations faster and more accurate while using far less power than existing APIs; a Geofencing API allows developers to limit the use of an app within certain physical boundaries; and an Activity Recognition API lets users track their physical activities.
Google Play Developer Console
This was introduced at last year's conference and has been updated. New tools, which came in to Google as suggestions from developers, are aimed at helping app developers gain new users and revenue from their Android apps. The tools include a tab where apps are analyzed in the console and given optimization tips to try to help developers make their products more popular, such as adding screen shots of an app so that buyers can see how it will look on a tablet.
Street View Trekker and SVII Cameras
Street View teams are using these to collect the amazing images being gathered for the project from around the world. The Trekker camera is a backpack-mounted camera that is helping to collect images in remote locations, including the Grand Canyon. I/O attendees were able to try out the Trekker backpack on a virtual hike through the canyon. IT journalist Stephen Shankland models the outfit in this photo.
New Galaxy S 4 for Google Play
Google collaborated with Samsung to create a special Samsung Galaxy S 4 for Google Play that will be available to customers on T-Mobile and AT&T networks. That smartphone will strip away Samsung's software and give users a straight Android experience. It's an interesting move that has caught the attention of industry observers.
Google Maps Get New Look
The Google Maps on-screen interface got a freshened look that will provide users with easier-to-find information as they search destinations and routes on the popular online map service. It's a more immersive interface designed for mobile devices. Instead of focusing on navigational elements, buttons and sidebars, the new Google Maps focuses on the map. It has also updated map colors, icons and text styles.