Tuesday, June 24, 2014

What I want from Google I/O

The most exciting day of the geek calendar after March 14 and May 4 is tomorrow, Google is taking the stage for its annual developers conference Google I/O. I have been looking forward to this for a long time now and there are a few things that I am hoping to see tomorrow during the keynote.

First up, Android Wear.

Android Wear is Google's wearable platform to be used in everything that can be attached to a human body, the first products that will benefit from this is the smartwatch. I want to see Google on stage running through everything that can be done with Android Wear, and get some more information on actual products. The rumour is that the LG G Watch will be the reference design akin to the Nexus line for Android proper. I expect that we will see this in full glory including release dates for at least the US and pricing. I would also love to see the same information from Motorola regarding the Moto 360. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Moto 360 onstage as well as it seems to be the reference device for the round version of Android Wear as opposed to the simple rectangle. There are rumours about another device, possibly from Samsung, that will be unveiled during the keynote. If we do see the Samsung device I expect it to look almost identical to the Galaxy Gear 2, or the Gear 2 Neo. This is probably what I am most excited about for the entire keynote is finding out release dates and more hands on with these devices.

Second, Android.

The last few weeks have seen 2 OTA's from Google for the Nexus line, I don't think we will see even an incremental update to Android, let alone a full letter release. What it seems like we will see is a preview of the next Android update, the "L" release of Android that should be ready for the fall, this is based on a statement by Sundar Pichai the head of Chrome and Android that was found in a Business Week article today. Since we won't see a new Android release we will not see any new Android hardware. What I want to see with this 'preview' is some more information about the rumoured 'Hera' project and what that will entail, as well as the new design language we will see in the future release. I am hoping that there will also be the announcement of some sort Beta program to allow people to test it out and give feedback, though I don't really have any reason to think that they would do this. Something that I would like to see in addition is a way to completely backup my phone rather than just a nandroid backup.

Third, Design.

This I/O has a very heavy emphasis on design and cross platform design. I am hoping to see the redesigns of Gmail and Calendar properties that should be consistent across Android and the Web. I think we will see this roll out shortly after tomorrow to everyone that opts in while allowing users to stick with the old web view for a little while. I think this could be very interesting as Google has never been the best in terms of design and this new direction could be promising.

Fourth, Chrome.

I expect we will see some announcements from the Chrome group regarding new updates to the javascript engine used and some of their programming languages. I think we will see a preview of an upcoming redesign to Chrome OS that brings in the ideas of bringing Android and the Web together. Since we won't see new Android hardware I would not be surprised to see new Chromebooks though I seem to be in a minority on this one. I wouldn't be surprised to see some updates to Chromecast but I can't see a ton of new functionality being announced other than Android screen casting.

Fifth, Hangouts.

I do not think we will see many updates from the Google+ related properties other than Hangouts. I very much hope that we see full integration of Google Voice into hangouts allowing SMS to be integrated and usable on the web version of Hangouts. This is really the only thing that I want from Hangouts other than extensibility which I do not see happening.


I hope we see some cool 'moonshot' ideas or upcoming products as a glimpse into the future of Google to see what Google thinks is the future.

I do not know if I will be able to sleep tonight as I am so excited to see what happens tomorrow, it is like Christmas Eve for me and other Google fans. Hopefully Santa delivers!