Google I/O starts Wednesday, and ReadWriteWeb will be there. It’s the fifth year of Google’s developer conference, and the news is never limited to coders. We’ll see new flagship devices, major updates to apps and services, and demonstrations of those crazy, impractical technologies Google has been hacking on lately. There are sure to be surprises, but here’s what we know is in store.
"We don’t have the space on Google’s campus to hold I/O, and if we did, we would," says Mike Pegg, the Googler in charge of the event. Instead, the Google I/O event will "try to recreate Google in Moscone," right down to the micro-kitchens full of tasty snacks.
The first keynote is on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Pacific, and there’s another on Thursday at 10:00 a.m. We don’t know ahead of time what the announcements will be, but the events will be streamed live. If you watch them on ReadWriteWeb, we’ll fill in the blanks with context and commentary as the announcements roll out. In addition to the keynote news, we’ll have some overviews of the big areas of developer news as well as some key interviews with Googlers and developers.
New Google Devices
It is widely accepted amongst the gadget blogs that Google will unveil a seven-inch, $199 tablet under the flagship Nexus brand. It’s a Tegra 3 tablet built by Asus, and it will run the new Android version, known as Jelly Bean, which will also be released at I/O. Conflicting reports identify Jelly Bean as either Android 4.1 or Android 5.0. Rather than speculate, we’ll just want and see what’s announced.
But we won’t abstain from fun gadget-bloggery altogether. I’ll go first-person so as not to implicate my colleagues. I’ve gone on the record predicting a tablet running Chrome OS. Why? Oh, just for fun.
Also, the Chrome team told me when the new flagship Chromebook and Chromebox came out in May that more OEMs will release Chrome OS devices this year in "a number of different form factors." Plus, we’ve seen tablet versions of Chrome before. Google I/O is the right time to talk about multi-touch Chrome apps, so it’s the right time to show off the new device as well. If I’m wrong, I’m wrong.
Lastly, we have no inside information on this, but it sure would be cool if we got to wear some Project Glass glasses this week.
Google’s Platform News
Pegg says the biggest Google platform news will be in three categories.
The first is Maps. Maps was the first Web API Google made publicly accessible in 2005, and this year, Google is, in its own words, taking it to "the next dimension." With new 3D technology and improved UI, the world is about to look radically different for Google Maps and the apps built on it.
Google has already made some big announcements ahead of I/O. It slashed prices for apps that access the Google Maps API (after imposing fees for the first time in October), and Google spokespeople made clear that this was just a prelude. With Apple poised to kick Google out of the iPhone maps app, the game for developers of location-based apps is about to change significantly.
The second category is cloud services. Google has an offering called App Engine that lets developers host Web apps on Google’s servers. It has been an experiment for a while, but now it allows for service-level agreements, so real businesses can be built on it. Google wants to launch a full-fledged competitor with Amazon Web Services, and there will be major news on that front at I/O.
The third new area is Google Drive, Google’s cloud storage and syncing service launched in April. Just like its competitor, Dropbox, Google Drive provides a synced file system that can be used to store documents for all kinds of applications.
At I/O this year, we can expect all kinds of new Google Drive APIs to open up to app developers. Google Drive can read the text and recognize the objects in your photos; it’s not just bunch of folders. Apps – especially for mobile devices – built on Google Drive could enable some serious life hacks.
Where To Watch
You’ll be able to stream video from I/O at developers.google.com/io. Google is streaming twice as much content this year as it did last year, and it will all be available on YouTube afterward. Both keynotes are streamed, the entire Android and Chrome tracks will be streamed, and there will be a selection from other products, too.
We’ll have streams embedded here with our coverage alongside, and you won’t want to miss it. We’ve got two reporters (Taylor and me), Fred the business editor, and Eliot the video producer and photographer in attendance.
If you have questions during the event or want to meet up with us, hit us up on Twitter:
Taylor Hatmaker – @tayhatmaker Jon Mitchell – @ablaze Fredric Paul – @TheFreditor Eliot Weisberg – @eliotweisberg