Three days just isn't enough to absorb all the info from Google I/O. In fact, it's physically impossible to get to every session, be it due to overlaps, overcrowding (only so many seats) or overexhaustion. It's a good problem to have, though, and Google handles it quite well.
In case you've been living under a rock, in addition to streaming a number of the key sessions live, Google also records them, so you can watch at your leisure. And that's what I've been doing since returning home from San Francisco, the better to get a grasp on all the new features and services announced. And if you've never seen one of these developer sessions before, you might be surprised just how entertaining and engaging they can be. This was my fourth Google I/O, and it still catches me a little off guard.
Another surprise this year was the keynote address. Consolidated into a single address this year (as opposed keynotes the first two days at previous events), it went a whopping 3.5 hours. (Longer if you could the time spent waiting in line.) And it was time well-spent. There was so much information crammed into our brains in far less time than it took many of us to even get to San Francisco. But between all the new Google Play services, and the new Google Maps, and the improved Google+, and the Google Play game services -- and that's just the major Android stuff -- I could have gone another hour, easy.
There's not a lot I can say about Larry Page's appearance -- his first such speech at Google I/O in the years I've attended -- that you can't get from watching the recording. (And I recommend you do.) But I will say this: I've always believed a good CEO should overreach a little. The more Apple-friendly pundits love to poke fun at some of the things Eric Schmidt has said over the years, and perhaps rightfully so. There's certainly a fine line between cheerleading, inspiring and downright crazy talk. And occasionally crossing that line opens you up to jokes and criticism, but I love the sort of head-first-into-the-wall mentality. It's what makes Google Google, it's what gets things done, and it's what moves us forward.
A few more thoughts on the week that was:
- This year's Google I/O certainly had more of a developer event feel to it than a press event. That's a good thing, seeing as how it is a developer conference.
The update to Google Play Music is a good one, as is the addition of All Access subscription streaming. (Don't forget to get in on it by June 30 if you wan to save a few bucks for the first year.)
I still miss the now-defunct Zune Music Pass feature of being able to download albums for offline use under the subscription umbrella. Those were the good old days.
- And as I've mentioned a few times in the past week, while I'm disappointed to see Nexus Q support pulled from the new Play Music app, it's not surprising. And neither will it be surprising to see a replacement device in the near future, and it looks like one already has hit the FCC.
- Speaking of music, I caught the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on HBO this weekend. How ridiculously awesome is Gary Clark Jr.?
- The new Google Maps are beautiful. Be sure to get in on the preview if you haven't already.
- The new Google Hangouts is a good start, but obviously there's plenty of work left to be done integrating it throughout all the Google products. Funny how the early leaks were positioning it as the chat app to end all chat apps, though.
- Same goes for all the silly prepositioning of Nexus 5 stories, never mind anyone with a calendar and rudimentary understanding of history knew not to expect the next generation at Google I/O.
- I finally got to try Google Glass this week. Interesting, but so far from a commercial product. (I'm also not at all impressed by the point-of-view pictures. Those are a novelty and not really the exciting part of Google Glass. But I am intrigued by the privacy concerns. More on that in future column, perhaps.)
Google I/O was just the start of the next generation of Android, of course. The foundation laid last week will serve us for months and years. My thanks to the Googlers and developers for letting this interloper spend a few days learning a thing or three.
And now, we're off to CTIA. See y'all this week from Las Vegas. By the way, I'll be on TWiT's "All About Android" this Tuesday. Be sure to tune in.
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