There is no better place on the planet to be when it comes to technology than San Francisco this week during Google I/O 2013. Having just stepped out of the Keynote session, I thought I would provide a brief update.
At Google I/O last year it was announced that 400 Million Android devices had been activated globally. This year the number has more than doubled to 900 Million. Android is a true market leader and with 48 Billion App installs, a phenomenal number. Developers are also seeing a payback with 2.5 times higher revenue levels than a year ago.
Google is serious about single sign on and multiscreen, which will see great benefits for Apps. The example being if you have a Google Login on your website, after logging in you can prompt the user to download your App if the user has an Android phone. If the user agrees, the App will install wirelessly without the App store on device.
Internationalisation and translation is now more achievable where a developer can provide strings files to prefered suppliers. The example on stage was a $79 fee to translate an entire App and content to Russian in just a few days.
Beta testing services have been added where a select number of closed testers can trial and comment on an App. Our customers will be familiar with TestFlight, we will evaluate the Google offering and begin to trial it for its merits.
Larry Page (CEO)
If you haven’t heard Larry speak before, I suggest you Youtube him. A very introverted man, his insights and relationship with technology is pure. He speaks very emotionally about how the world engages technology, and a prevalence of a Zero Sum decision making style by companies to improve their bottom lines and create monopolies over collaboration. As ironic as it sounds from the CEO of one of the largest companies, he seems genuine.
Larry explained his happiness when the work on Maps was complete, and the engineering team could use the same technology outcomes in self driving cars, a new frontier. He explained the importance of non incremental thinking to problems.
Larry provided a great example of a lack of problem solving. He used the Smartphone as an example. The material cost (silicone, glass) of a phone is about $1. But the inefficiency can be calculated by the difference between its manufacturing cost and its selling price often above $700. If we solved all the problems and had a longer term outlook, byproducts such as waste and pollution would be reduced. Margins and profit would be the byproduct.
Larry also explained the importance of safe places to test new things. For example a place where you can store your genetic and health data with like minded people. See if it would work and if the risks we perceive associated were actually real. Without safe places to try (similar to what they did on Gmail when Google has 200 staff), we will find it difficult to innovate.
With a huge company focus on educating the next generation enabled by technology, Google will offer a separate Play Store for education Apps. The categories in this store will be relevant to learning, Apps will be peer reviewed before being made available from developers and teachers can trial and buy apps which will be sent to their students devices. Conventional credit card billing has been replaced with purchase order credits, more in line with the way Schools buy products. Submissions will commence in Summer and the Store will be available in the Fall.
Google launched its music All Access service, a $9.99 monthly subscription to the US and soon rolled out globally. This will compete with the likes of Spotify, and there are rumours that Apple may announce a similar offering at WWDC next month.
It was announced the Galaxy S4 will be shipped with a standard operating system, the same as Nexus devices, and sold directly by Google for $649
A huge design update was rolled out to Google +, and is available now to everyone. A key feature is the automatic photo fix tools which enhance photography using professional methods. Google will be able to auto create albums removing blurry photos, preference for photos that include friends and family, good aesthetics and landmarks.
Defined as the end of search, as we know it. It is all about predictive search and finding the anticipated questions and answers. In terms of anticipation an extension to Google Now (on Android) where Google will tell you answers in the form of cards, to the things you may need to know. For example where to eat, the next train and reminders.
Voice search (Hot Wording) can soon be activated on Android and Chrome using the words “OK Google”. No need to touch the device. This was pioneered by Google Glass in the last few weeks.
Search will be very focussed around data Google can provide. The example was being at a theme park, and asking the phone without pressing any buttons “How tall do I need to be to ride the roller coaster”. The answer is presented on screen and read aloud. Where traditionally a search and links to a website would b presented, now Google will show this information. Does this indicate a reduction in our reliance on websites?
Watch the video of the – Google Glass IO 2013 Keynote Dash