Google I/O: The Future is Almost Here
(Disclaimer: This is the first time I've written in an article style. If you think this piece could be improved, please call me out. Thanks!)
With all the hype lately, it’d be easy to think that Google I/O is the best thing since sliced bread. Fortunately, for the most part, that’s true. Google’s annual developer conference held in San Francisco today revealed the latest work on Android, Chrome OS, wearables, and even automobiles. But to the average person, what does all of this work mean? Let’s break it down real quick.
Developer preview for Android is a huge step forward
Think back to the tech scene 3 years ago. The most popular phone on the market was the iPhone 4. Google Glass hadn’t even been announced yet. Hell, Blackberry still had a fighting chance. The most popular operating systems were hugely skeuomorphic, most notably OSX and Android. The contrast we’re seeing today to what we’ve seen before is huge. The push lately from tech companies towards modern looking, yet more functional UIs has been refreshing, to say the least. The dev preview for Android L shows Google’s end of that initiative. It’s clean, fast, and cool. Not only that, but it’s the start of a fantastic flowing UI throughout all of your devices, a la Windows Metro design language. In the end, the user is going to see a great new interactive experience, which will pave the way for most new UIs in the future.
Android Auto is a big deal
Android Auto is Google’s answer to Apple’s CarPlay. In short, it hooks up to your car’s head unit via a connection with your Android phone (wires confirmed, Bluetooth perhaps). It’s a clean, simple interface that follows the new Material Design language on all coming Google platforms, and it’s undoubtedly the best in-car interface at the moment. The most important feature is the fact the Auto apps work in conjunction with your phone. When the app is updated on your device, the Auto version is as well. This will make the functionality of head units completely modular on the software side, solving the issue of outdated cabin tech in recent cars. Not only that, but it plugs right into the fantastic services and apps that Google offers like Play Music and Maps. It’s coming soon to a ton of manufacturer’s vehicles, and you’re going to love it.
Wearables are the new smartphones
Wearables were the name of the game for a good chunk of the conference, and more specifically, smart watches. Google is putting a ton of effort into convincing you to wear a computer on your wrist, and for the most part, people are really interested. Although an LG and Samsung watch will launch later today, everyone is most excited about the Moto 360. The big hype over the 360 is the fact that it features a circular display, just like most watches you’re used to. By the time the 360 launches later this summer, I highly suspect that it will reach the word of mouth popularity that the original iPhone enjoyed back in 2007. Wearables are the future, and the future is looking great.
Chrome OS isn’t a child’s toy anymore
Chrome OS started out as an odd proposition: build a laptop that can access the Internet through a modified version of the Chrome browser. Albeit being one of the best available, Chrome really didn’t stand a chance alone against other portable offerings from larger manufacturers. But then, Chrome OS found its calling: students. Chromebooks have been selling like hotcakes to school’s and other academic institutions because of their low cost and focus on being connected. Add in the fact that now Android apps will run natively on it, and you’ve got a winning formula. Chrome OS might once have been half-baked, but it’s quickly turning into a great option for those looking for quick and easy access to Googles services on the go or in school. So, if you’re in the market for a low cost, yet portable laptop, look no further than Chromebooks.
These were, what I thought to be, the most important parts of the keynote. I'd love to know what you guys are most interested in as well!