Thursday, May 20:
The second and last day of Google I/O was expected to be the big day for announcements. Google did not disappoint, when during the keynote speech, it unveiled the latest version of Android named Froyo and the much-anticipated Google TV.
Google calls Google TV an “experience”. In fact, it is a system that will be built in to television sets, blu-ray players and boxes that plug into HDTVs. It is not IPTV (television over the Internet) or an alternative to satellite dishes.
It would be simplistic to say that it is what Google does best, search, only that it is made for television. It is merely just Google entering your living room by the front door.
One of the most interesting feature of Google TV is that one of its most fundamental building pieces is the Android operating system (OS).
Known as the operating system for mobile devices (and recently of tablets and netbooks), the OS with the Green Robot expands to the big screen. In effect, developers writing applications for mobile phones can now consider writing them for the, now not so small, small screen.
Android 2.2 Froyo
To users, some of the new improvements of Android Froyo are obvious, such as support for Adobe Flash and official wifi tethering (sharing your phone’s internet connection as a personal wifi hotspot).
To developers, Froyo also opens a world of possibilities. The Cloud to Device Messaging Framework (a “push” technology) is intriguing. It would allow, for example, a user signed into his or her Google account on a computer paired with an Android phone to click on a link to, say a restaurant, and the mobile handset would immediately call the number. Now, what if a user could interact with the “cloud” using a remote control?
The following video contains a demonstration of the Cloud to Device functionality with real-life applications:
Digital journalism at Google I/O
The Huffington Post
The HuffPost’s chief technical officer, Paul Berry, said the Post does not have project managers. Editors are thoroughly engaged in the production process. Ideas circulate fast between editors, Berry and developers, and can become published media product within days.
The New York Times
Over at The New York Times, software developer Andre Berhens was behind the wheel.
An interesting discussion ensued about the organizational structure of digital media companies, specifically the fine balance between having flexible resources and specialists in different roles (project/product managers, developers, designers, integrators).
Berhens is the man behind Times Skimmer, a beautiful and elegant website made in the new HTML5 standard. He makes use of Web workers (a browser feature to run scripts in parallel, thus overall much faster) and CSS transitions (in rendering animations for instance).
Google I/O Facts
– Held in late May since 2008
– Two days of Google I/O, one bootcamp day
– 5,000 developers
– 90 sessions