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6/28/2014
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Jeff Bertolucci
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Google I/O 2014: 10 Big Developments

Google unveiled everything from Android to wearable news at its annual developers show. Here are the developments that matter most.
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It's A Wearable World
In his opening-day presentation at Google I/O 2014, the company's annual developers' conference in San Francisco, Sundar Pichai, Google's senior VP of Android, Chrome, and apps, claimed that more than a million people worldwide were watching the keynote's live stream. Given the global reach of Google, this estimate doesn't sound far-fetched.

In a lengthy keynote that seemed to cover every facet of the company's increasingly diverse interests, one trend shone through: Wearable devices are a big deal. Presentations focused mostly on Android and Chrome, and how Google is evolving its software and services beyond smartphones and tablets. These efforts are designed to accommodate the emerging Internet of Things, a sensor-laden ecosystem of wearables, home automation gadgets, connected cars, and machine-to-machine (M2M) devices for the enterprise.

The inevitable stats were impressive. The number of people around the world who actively use Android devices nearly doubled from 530 million a year ago to more than one billion today. And Android now has 62% of global tablet shipments, up from 46% a year ago.

Getting all of these tablets, phones, and other devices to work together is a key concern for Google and its competitors. After all, recent history shows that mobile platforms that fall behind may never catch up.

"Users increasingly are living in a multi-screen world," said Pichai. "You are using other connected devices -- the television in your living room. You're increasingly wearing things on your body. When you get into your car, you expect a connected experience. We want to work to create a seamless experience across all these connected devices."

One significant challenge in realizing this vision, however, involves developing devices and services that become "contextually aware," knowing when users are home and want to be entertained, when they're traveling, and when they're at work.

Voice, arguably the most intuitive means of human interaction, will play a major role in this contextually aware environment. In Google's vision, the smartphone becomes the hub of this personal ecosystem, a logical approach if what the company says is true: Android users check their phones an average of 125 times every day.

One high-profile product that went unmentioned during Wednesday's keynote was Google Glass, perhaps because there's nothing new to announce (unlikely), or because the cutting-edge wearable needs a break from endless public scrutiny and scorn.

This slideshow provides an overview of the major initiatives announced during the I/O conference. Here's the takeaway: Google's focus may be on Android wearables and getting developers to write apps for them, but the search giant is juggling multiple, highly ambitious projects. Some of these may fail, of course, but even the duds are interesting in their own way. Which developments do you like or dislike most? Tell us in the comments section.

 

 

 

Jeff Bertolucci is a technology journalist in Los Angeles who writes mostly for Kiplinger's Personal Finance, The Saturday Evening Post, and InformationWeek. View Full Bio

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H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Moderator
6/29/2014 | 7:04:04 AM
Android L
Being an Android developer, I am looking forward to Material Design. I hope this can bring great improvements to Android app's UI. Nice step by Google.
H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Moderator
6/29/2014 | 7:18:11 AM
Volta
Every other smart phone user is complaining about battery being driained quickly. I think there are apps having features like Volta already there in the market. Volta can be of great help for all Android users.
H@mmy
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H@mmy,
User Rank: Moderator
6/29/2014 | 7:28:06 AM
Glass & Nexus
I was expecting some news abnout Google Glass and Nexus. Did I miss on it, or there was no mention about it ?
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
6/29/2014 | 3:42:09 PM
Always a step ahead
Great article Jeff,

This is why I alway say that Google is one of those companies that is not only a step ahead, but the rest of the industry either follows in there steps or tries desperately to play catch up.

Like you mention, some Google projects fail, but it does provide leassons learned that I can bet have provide other projects to be succesful.
Kefka Pelazzo
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Kefka Pelazzo,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/2/2014 | 5:21:22 AM
Re: Always a step ahead
Really? A step ahead? Cause Apple didn't announce CarPlay last year. ;)

And how's that 64 bit support coming along?
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
7/2/2014 | 9:13:41 AM
Re: Always a step ahead
Well....let's look at some examples:

 

Chrome OS...the concept of a laptop that has minimun hardware requirements so get online and work mostly on the cloud

 

Google Glasses,

Google self driving car

 

All projects that can be a hit or miss, but it's R&D that can lead to other product sping off/discoveries
Rhoughton
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Rhoughton,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/27/2014 | 10:19:14 AM
Re: Always a step ahead
"Android One initiative, which is designed to bring "high-quality, affordable smartphones" to billions of potential customers in developing nations." All this r&d is not just helping developing nations. Every developed nation has a third world developing nation within itself , which runs around 30% in the US,of A. This "developing class" also extends itself to children and adolescents and their schools that have great learning needs for access to the "infinite textbook and composition tool" of the 21st century. Let's hope Google makes this device available to everyone anywhere, not just abroad.
mejiac
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mejiac,
User Rank: Ninja
7/30/2014 | 3:14:24 PM
Re: Always a step ahead
"Let's hope Google makes this device available to everyone anywhere, not just abroad.",

Agreed, which is one of the reason I greatly support Google, since most of the products they provide are never locked down, on the contrary, they're made so that anyone can use and tweek them.
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