There was a lot covered today at Google’s three-hour long I/O developers conference keynote, but here are some of my thoughts on just some of the products and services announced:
Google Play Music All Access - Google’s new music subscription service. Not interested, as I’m already subscribed to Spotify. It’s also US and Android only for now.
Google Play Game Services - Google’s answer to Apple’s Game Center. It works across platforms, so developers can implement it on iOS and the web, so that’s a plus.
Google Play for Education - Google’s take on Apple’s domination in education. Malaysia has already jumped in on the bandwagon, adopting it for 10 million students, teachers and parents, and deploying Chromebooks to primary and secondary schools nationwide.
Galaxy S4 with stock Andriod - The one thing that’s been steering me away from buying an Andriod phone is all the crap, bloatware and custom skins that every OEM seem to love to clog into their devices. Google has had it’s own Nexus range of devices for a while now, but the S4 finally brings LTE and “cutting-edge specs”, with good software and timely updates, into the mix.
Hangouts - Previously under the Google+ banner, it’s now a dedicated messaging app for iOS, Android, Chrome, and Gmail (combining Google’s various messaging solutions like Google Talk and Google+ Messenger into one). Group video chats (the “old” Hangouts) is also built in. Add standard text and voice calls in the future, and I think it could easily become the one messaging app to rule them all.
Google+ - The stream got a makeover, which (to me) looks a hell of a lot like Pinterest. Its photo galleries now have Auto Enhance features, and a new tool called “Auto Awesome”, which creates new images from the kinds of photos you take, and “Auto Highlight”, which chooses the best photos to show off, out of everything you’ve uploaded. Pretty cool, but I don’t have a Google+ account (this may change very soon though - See Hangouts).
Voice Search in Chrome - Just say “Ok Google”, and your question to search. No keystrokes or screen taps. Cool feature, but I don’t use Chrome.
Google Maps - Redesigned from the ground up for both desktops and mobile applications. It’s full-screen and vector based, and integrates information layers from Google Earth, to 3D imagery and indoor maps, right down to Street View. Directions, street navigation and personalised POIs have also been improved. I use Google Maps on a daily basis, and the preview looks amazing.
Of course this isn’t everything that was covered during the keynote, just some of the things that I picked up on and thought were interesting.