Google I/O Report

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We’re slowly ‘coming down from the clouds’ following a super busy and really inspiring couple of days at Google I/O 2011. Here’s our report on the major themes from the conference, and our experience hosting a Developer Sandbox stand throughout the 2 days.

The Conference

For those who don’t know, Google I/O is Google’s major annual conference focused on the developer community. It’s at this conference that Google announces its key innovations and future directions (at least for the year ahead). It’s also famous for the SWAG (promotional items) that are given to all attendees.

There were two keynote speeches at which various Googlers announced their latest and greatest innovations. So much has been reported on these announcements that there’s no point going into too much detail here. Basically, Day 1′s keynote was all about Android–Google’s mobile operating system, and Day 2 was all about Chrome–Google’s awesome web browser. It is funny to think of Google as the underdog, but in these two areas they are taking on the role of the upstart trying to disrupt the more established industry player.

With Android, Google is taking the fight to Apple, and in many ways it is winning. Google says it has activated 100 million Android devices to date, which although is only around half of Apple’s device sales, it seems that Android is currently signing up more customers than Apple, and that it may overtake Apple as the largest smartphone/tablet platform. On a more micro level, the shiny new Samsung Galaxy tablet they gave us is pretty cool. It’s a little weird coming to it after using an iPad. It is way better than an iPad for some things (Gmail, Picasa, Maps, and most other Google products) and not nearly as good as an iPad in most other ways. The iPad just seems to be a more polished, more consistent experience. Anyway, I am not a lifelong convert to Apple on the evidence so far I am prepared to continue to watch and try out new Android devices. Should be cool to see this market develop–the level of innovation is fantastic.

For me though, Day 2′s announcement and demo’s were really inspiring. You may think that announcements about faster Chrome javascript engines, GPU (graphics processor unit) innovations, etc., are techie and boring, but in my opinion we’re witnessing the future of computing here. Just as PCs replaced mainframes/terminals, so web connected devices will replace PCs. The web is just a more powerful, more efficient, more compelling computing environment, and Google is showing us all how it will happen. If the Chrome browser announcements were the entree (hors d’oeuvres if you’re from the US) then the Chrome Book announcements were the main course. These are light, cut down, battery friendly ‘notebook computers’ that can do nothing else other than connect to the internet via Google’s Chrome browser. I couldn’t hope to describe how and why this is good, so I’ll just direct you to the relevant Google website. The thing that really stuck with me is the following thought. IT departments around the world are wedded to Microsoft’s platform and software. But the annual cost per user in new equipment, support, upgrades and the like is massive. (I think I recall a figure of $3,000 per user per year being mentioned.) IT departments don’t yet trust the web, and so Microsoft dominates the business market. But the web’s becoming more and more secure, and the applications that can be run via a browser are becoming more and more powerful. And here’s the clincher–Google is going to offer the Chrome Book to businesses for around $300 per user per year for all hardware, upgrades, fixes, support, etc–that is 1/10th the price of a traditional computer. I don’t know if it will 2, 5 or 10 years before it happens, but the web is going to completely destroy the PC! “Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!”.

Developer Sandbox

The real highlight though for us was our experience hosting a Developer Sandbox stand. Around 100 companies who are using Google technology or somehow integrating with Google technology were offered these stands to talk to people at the conference and demo their products. We were here because our application is built almost entirely using a web development environment called GWT (or Google Web Toolkit). In addition, our application is hosted in App Engine–Google’s cloud infrastructure.

We met a diverse range of people including independent software developers, academics, other sandbox exhibitors, and numerous Googlers. Thanks to everyone who came by our stand for giving us the opportunity to show you what we’ve built. We are really proud of what we have achieved so far.

Here are some photos and a short video of the conference and sandbox area–

Here’s a quick look at the Developer Sandbox area of Google I/O 2011. Sumwise was on a stand in the Developer Tools area. We’ve had an awesome couple of days here.

2 Comments so far Join the Discussion

  1. Richard Simons

    15th May 2011 at about 9pm

    Congratulations guys, one in around 100 companies from around the world is pretty impressive

  2. Matt Semple

    24th May 2011 at about 11am

    One hundred in one million, and the one in the 100 who has his priorities right….
    What good is a dumb waiter robot not carrying drinks?

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