DigitalOutbox Episode 164
DigitalOutbox Episode 164 – Google I/O
1:45 – Google I/O
– Just one keynote this year….that lasted for 3 ½ hours
– Notable absence – no new hardware. Unlike previous years there were no hardware announcement, but all attendees did get a Chromebook Pixel. There was however plenty of new software and services (but nothing on Google TV and no new version of Android). Key announcements…
– Google: 900 million Android activations to date, 48 billion app downloads
– Google announces Play game services, Android’s cross-platform answer to Game Center
– The platform will support cloud saves, thereby allowing users to save their progress or game state and pick it up on a separate device, as well as achievements and leaderboards using Google+.
– API will enable both turn-based and real-time multiplayer
– Google Play game services will be supported for titles on Android, iOS and the Web – truly cross platform
– Google Play services updated with new location, Google+ sign-in, and cloud messaging APIs
– 3 new location API’s including Geofencing and Activity Recognition API that will help users track their physical activity
– Android Studio
– It’s an IDE based on IntelliJ.
– This tool has more options for Android Development, making the process faster and more productive. A “live layout” was shown that renders your app as you’re editing in realtime.
– Tools to support beta testing and language translations
– Google takes on Spotify with Google Play Music All Access subscription service
– web and mobile interfaces feature millions of songs you can play instantly, recommendations, charts and playlists, and instant radio stations. The Spotify competitor launches today in the US for $9.99 a month, comes with a free trial month, and sign-ups before June 30th get it for $7.99.
– Everything from your Google Music locker is automatically pulled into Google Play Music All Access. Beneath the content you own, everything else an artist has ao All Access is automatically listed and plays at a tap. More countries will get Google Play Music All Access soon.
– Google redesigning Play apps and Play Store on the web
– Google turns the Samsung Galaxy S4 into a Nexus phone, coming June 26th for $649
– Vanilla Android – no Samsung crapware added
– Should get quick updates of new Android releases
– Google takes on Apple in schools with Google Play for Education
– Play store for education – currently trialling now
– Google+ completely redesigned with new cards-based interface
– 41 new features
– Multi column stream (Like Facebook or Pinterest)
– Auto tag posts
– New features for hangouts and photos
– automatically enhance the tonal distribution in an image, soften skin, sharpen certain parts of an image and remove noise – and all of those computations happen in the cloud.
– system can now analyze your images and kick out blurry photos, duplicates, images with bad exposure (which it will try to fix). It can also recognize good images with certain landmarks, for example, and detect faces and see if people are smiling and/or of those people are in your Google+ circles. It will also try to make some decision based on aesthetics. What used to take hours of work, Gundotra said, now happens automatically in the cloud and take seconds.
– Now that Google offers everybody 15GB of free storage, users an also upload 15GB worth of full-size images to Google+ Photos. In addition, the autobackup feature provides unlimited storage space for photos at sized under 2048px.
– “Awesome” – can automatically detect when an image is part of a series and stitch it together in one image or an animated GIF. “If we detect that you took a series of photos, in burst mode or otherwise, we can stitch them together,” Gundotra told us. To recognize these images, the system does a bit of analysis to make sure the background hasn’t moved.
– This is about more than animated GIFs, though. This new feature – which Google calls “auto awesome” – can also automatically create a group photo from a series of photos and pick the one where everybody is smiling. It can stitch together landscape photos to create panoramas and create HDR images from a series of photos where it detects bracketed exposures. All of this happens extremely fast, too, thanks to the power of Google’s data centers.
– Google unveils Hangouts: a unified messaging system for Android, iOS, and Chrome
– replaces the numerous Google services that currently help you have real-time conversations with other users, such as Google Talk, Google Voice and Google+ Hangouts.
– It will launch on most major platforms later today, including iOS, Android and the Web. (iOS works well, Android – doesn’t support Nexus 7)
– Conversations can either be one-on-one or in larger groups; the new Hangouts app can do both.
– As with many other apps, such as WhatsApp or even iMessage, conversations support multimedia content, including high-resolution photographs.
– Video chats as well
– Text, emoji, photos, video, see who’s typing, read receipts
– The service’s Google+ integration is one of the best features in the entire product: every photo that you or a friend posts is automatically saved in a private, shared album on Google+.
– One flaw – doesn’t bring in SMS, so not fully unified – Google confirm that SMS is coming soon
– Google adds button-free voice search in Chrome: just say ‘OK Google’
– You should, according to Google, be able to ask it when your upcoming flight is, and where your package might be in transit.
– Search getting a lot smarter – improving knowledge graph
– Making claims that search is only starting – next generation search coming….end of search as we know it
– Google Now updated to include voice reminders, emails, and public transit data
– new cards include a location-based Reminder feature, public transit travel times, and information about books, music, TV shows and video games that might be of timely interest to users.
– Reminder feature is based on time, people and location and can be set with simple voice commands using natural language processing. It’s like the geofenced Reminders that are used by Apple in iOS, but looks to be arguably more useful since it ties into the Google Now knowledge graph. Reminders takes Now further by giving users a way to actively set and retrieve content, which should help prove its worth among users who weren’t getting much out of the automated results previously being generated by the engine.
– Google Wallet comes to Gmail
– Google announced two important features regarding Google Wallet. The first is integration with Gmail so you can pay by sending an email. The second is the launch of the Google Wallet Instant Buy Android API, which lets developers integrate payment features into apps for selling physical goods and services.
– The first feature, which is rolling out “over the coming months” to all US Gmail users over 18 years old, means you can send money to whoever you want directly from Gmail. Recipients don’t need to have a Gmail address: any email will do. Google lets you send money for free as long as your bank account is linked to Google Wallet or using your Google Wallet Balance. There are “low fees,” however if you are sending money using your linked credit or debit card.
– Google redesigns Maps for mobile – Android, iOS incl iPad version coming this summer
– New look for Android, based on iOS
– iPad coming soon
– new floating search box is the highlight of the main map view, and it incorporates a new suggestion engine that will help you find relevant places nearby and more.
– new version of maps will also have live traffic incident reporting and re-routing.
– Google Maps integrates Google Earth and Street View in completely redesigned interface
– new version of Google Maps is heavily customized for every user, with knowledge about a user contributing to discovery of new places using the same data as Google Now.
– new service collates imagery from Google Earth, Google’s Street View and special projects including its space and underwater imaging. Instead of having to bounce around between products, you’ll now be able to get all of that in one place
– new overhead view, which is also rendered in 3D using WebGL, like Google Earth:
– Flight search and place reviews are now integrated fully into Google Maps, giving you the ability to search for directions including flights in one go. Reviews and ratings can be culled from top reviewers or your Google+ circles.
– Larry Page then came on stage, said a few statements (slammed Oracle – in it for the money, then went into a 45 minute Q&A. Most was fairly interesting but there was one bizarre statement..
– Google CEO Larry Page is holding a rare Q&A session with attendees of today’s Google I/O keynote, and he’s been offering up some pretty unfiltered answers. In response to a question about reducing negativity and focusing on changing the world, Page noted that “the pace of change is increasing” and said that “we haven’t adapted systems to deal with that.” Specifically, he said that “not all change is good” and said that we need to build “mechanisms to allow experimentation.” That’s when his response got really interesting. “There are many exciting things you could do that are illegal or not allowed by regulation,” Page said. “And that’s good, we don’t want to change the world. But maybe we can set aside a part of the world.” He likened this potential free-experimentation zone to Burning Man and said that we need “some safe places where we can try things and not have to deploy to the entire world.” Google is already well-known for coming up with some pretty interesting ideas — the idea of seeing what Page could come up with in this lawless beta-test country is simultaneously exciting and a bit terrifying.
– Also, this – Every story I read about Google is ‘us versus some other company’ or some stupid thing, and I just don’t find that very interesting. We should be building great things that don’t exist. Being negative isn’t how we make progress. Most important things are not zero sum, there is a lot of opportunity out there.
– A few hours later they put out a cease and desist on Microsoft
– Following Google’s demands for Microsoft to remove its Windows Phone YouTube app, Microsoft has responded saying it’s happy to include advertising. Google sent a cease and desist letter to Microsoft recently, with concerns that the Windows Phone YouTube app does not display ads. “We’d be more than happy to include advertising but need Google to provide us access to the necessary APIs,” says a Microsoft spokesperson.
– Microsoft appears to want to rectify the situation, noting Google CEO Larry Page’s comments at I/O today. “In light of Larry Page’s comments today calling for more interoperability and less negativity, we look forward to solving this matter together for our mutual customers.” Microsoft recently released an update for its Windows Phone YouTube application to support sign-in, downloads, and a full YouTube experience. The application has been available for just over a week, but Google has demanded that it be removed by May 22nd for violating its YouTube API rules.
32:52 – 50 Billion Downloads
34:10 – YouTube launches its paid subscription channels with select partners
37:05 – Google Unifies Its Free And Paid Storage Options
38:40 – Google completes the feedback loop
40:20 – Lulzsec hacker group handed jail sentences
40:58 – BlackBerry bringing BBM to Android and iOS this summer
43:51 – Nokia unveils the Lumia 925
46:18 – HTC First to be discontinued
47:25 – Windows Keeps Getting Better
47:57 – Players force EA to drop online pass for used games
49:35 – GT6 for PS3
52:29 – Chris Hadfield – the astronaut’s best tweets, photos and videos