Well, the first day of I/O is a wrap. Lots of exciting anouncements and practical deep dive sessions. I was impressed with the quality of the sessions and conference organization. I am typing this blog post on the Chromebook Pixel all attendees received. It took 10 seconds to setup and update.
No huge announcements or skydiving this year. Larry Page closed the keynote, although he is currently suffering from a bad vocal chord illness. To me, the keynote left a distinct message: we’re just getting started. We all know Google is working on stuff like Glass and self-driving cars, but it is just not here yet. Larry made it very clear though: Google is not just after incremental changes, but focuses on big new things. The advancements in Google Search/Now, Google+ and Maps are impressive. I played with Maps preview and accidentally got back in the production version of Maps. Although it was fine yesterday, suddenly it feels really dated.
Google is pushing the envelope, and clearly, competitors will have to respond. Microsoft, Apple and Facebook will do similar things here to keep improving consumer services with better user interfaces and more streamlined, advanced capabilities. This will raise the bar for software overall: people will be expecting to be able to talk interactively with apps, have a contextual, content-first ui, support for high dpi displays and deeply integrated services. Not just with Google, but with any software they use, as a consumer or in the enterprise. The IT service provider that can keep up with Google quality- and productivity-style development will do very well in this increasingly demanding world.
Some exciting announcements on Android. First, to battle fragmentation, all of the new APIs were Google Play Services. These are deployed on Adroid 2.2 and above, and kept up to date automatically by Google, without telcos or hardware vendors to mess things up.
Android Studio, a reboot of the android IDE tools, now works on IntelliJ. I was surprised by the enthousiasm about the live multi-layout preview. Although this is a really cool feature, it was already available in Eclipse for a while now. The big things in Studio are the new architecture choices, like fully based on the Gradle build system, and a much more active collaboration with the IDE platform provider. Android Studio is a huge opportunity for JetBrains, and Eclipse simply moves too slow. Please note that Studio is released at version 0.1, Google intends to do weekly updates to very quickly iterate on the new IDE, but will keep supporting Eclipse too for now. IntelliJ has an awesome update mechanism so it will be interesting to see how fast Android Studio will evolve.
Other announcements had similar practical packages. App Engine now supports PHP, a really cool networking library for Android, called Volley, was released, and tons of new HTML5 stuff was presented. A recurring theme is ease of development, being able to profile and debug, and automated assistence and quality checks. More on that tomorrow!