A Run-Down on Google I/O 2013 Announcements


As the Google I/O conference began in San Francisco yesterday, a lot of speculation began; on what would be the upgrades and new fancy gadgets that Google would want to show off.

There were rumors that this year the conference would be more developers oriented than hardware oriented. Let’s dive into what Google had to offer, on its sixth Developer conference!!

Facts and Stats:

900 million Activations

Sundar Pichai, head of Android and Chrome suggested that, two years ago, there was an addition of 100 million android phones. He praised the breathtaking speed and appreciation of android devices since then. Proved by the numbers, a total 900 Million Android devices have been activated around the world, stressing the fact that there is 1 android per 7 people on earth now!!

Music Streaming Services:

Google Play All Access

Google announced US-only streaming services for starting $9.99 a month. The “Google Play Music All Access” would be a music streaming service to take on to the established rivals like Spotify and Pandora (Neither of them in India currently).

Chris Yerga from Google said,

 We set out to build a music service that didn’t just give you access to a world of music, but helped to guide you through it”.

The service can be used as a streaming service wherein you store and edit your own playlist, as well as a radio streaming service. The service would be available on Android phones, tablets and web browser.

Custom Samsung Galaxy S4

The highlight of the conference, Google announced custom Galaxy S4, which will run on the latest Google vanilla OS. This move comes amidst growing tensions between Google and Samsung, as Google was concerned over the heavy influence of Samsung on Google’s Android OS.

The GS4 – Nexus combo would be rolled out in the US at the start price of $649 from June end. We still await (Has just been launched) Nexus 4, LG handset in India.

There are comments on tech sites, that Google takes India as a backup market- marketing and distributing a model that is already outdated outside India. But if that was the case, Google would never roll out country specific services for India. It would neither keep the Indian Audience entertained by the doodles it does. I disagree, that Google thinks India as a backup- market. Your views?

Google+ Redesign:

New Google

Google+, still far behind major social networking giants like Facebook, twitter, announced another ramp up for the Google+ UI. It would sport a multicolumn view, which would self-adjust depending on the device one is using.

While explaining Dynamic Tiles, they took the example of an Eiffel tower. While the user did not manually tag the photo, Google system could recognize it as an Eiffel Tower, and tagged it so. This would allow the users to “go deeper” into the feeds that there friends post online!

Vic Gundotra also explained about the standalone Hangout App, which would take on the cross platform apps like WhatsApp, Viber, etc. This would also be available through web browser. Google also announced Voice powered search for its Chrome Browser.

Photo Editing and Games:

Google announced its cloud based photo-editing app. Reviews suggests that this would mean a competition to Instagram or other online photo editing apps.

Also, the move to a cloud based editing comes at a perfect time for Google, as Adobe is planning a similar deployment soon!

Google has also planned to connect cross platform gaming progress for its users. It would have a score comparison tool embedded in the new Google+ design. This Leaderboard feature would also be made available to iOS devices.

Google Maps:

After 5 million miles across 50 countries on street-view Cars, collecting scores of terrains and buildings data, Google claims, that they would be able to get a more accurate picture of cities across the globe!

Apart from other upgrades like ramping up Google maps for local businesses, and traffic alerts in the US, it also has revamped the look and feel of Google Maps.

Users would now be able to zoom past the earth and view the earth’s position in the solar system. This service comes as a neat add-on.

“Technology should do the hard work, so you can get on and live your life” added Google CEO and Co-founder Larry page, as he wrapped up the conference.

I would say that’s a decent upgrade to what Google already offers – Although the late launching of Google services in potential markets like India still remains a concern, from the business perspective of Google, its only set to accelerate with these announcements. Your views?

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