Top 5: Favourite's from the Google I/O 2013 keynote

Image: TechCrunch
Google I/O is probably one of the most, if not the most anticipated developer conferences in the world. Ever since I started using Android 10 months ago I've been a huge fan of Google and their products. Naturally, I was excited to watch my first ever Google I/O via livestream on YouTube. It didn't matter if it was from midnight to 3am, I wanted to see what Google had in store for all of us. Yes, I am a little disappointed that we didn't see a new Nexus device (no, the Galaxy S4 doesn't count) or a new version of Android, but what Google did give us made up for that and so much more. Here's my top 5 favourite things from the Google I/O 2013 keynote.

5. All the developer stuff that I don't understand
Google I/O is afterall, a conference for developers. So naturally, the keynote would focus a lot on developers, who make the user-experience on Android (and every other OS) either great, or not. There was a lot of technical stuff like Android Studio which I just completely ignored. But the devs were obviously happy. New dev tools = happy devs = better apps = better user-experience = happy users. So even though I don't understand anything about the new tools the devs are now able to use, I'm glad that we will soon be reaping the benefits of these new tools.
This is really awesome. I just don't
understand any of it. Image: TechnoBuffalo
4. All the Google+ improvements
My post which was automatically hashtagged
Almost everything related to Google+ got improved. We have a new web interface with a card-based column layout instead of a single column of content. And we have cool animations too. Cards flip to show more information about the post. We also get cool animations when posting too. It's not just a static experience. Google+ also freakishly manages to add relevant hashtags to our posts by analysing content. I shared a post this morning and got #Android, #Jellybean and #Google tagged to my post. Automatically. AMAZING. Google+ photos also got huge updates. We now get the option to enhance images we upload manually, or we can allow Google+ to do it automatically for us. BUILT-IN PHOTO EDITING!! I'm not much of a photographer but I imagine many people will love this feature. Oh, uploaded burst shots are also converted into GIFs. How awesome is that?! Not forgetting of course Google+ Hangouts. The cross-platform cross-device chat and video chat service Google just announced. iOS, Android, phone, tablet, laptop, it works everywhere! Chat, group chat, private video chat, or group video chat. All for free. Lastly Google+ sign-in has been improved as well. Login on a website on your laptop, and you are automatically signed in on the app as well. Or if you don't have the app, it can be downloaded for you. Again, AMAZING.

3. Improvements to Google Search/ Google Now
Reminders in Google Now
Almost everyone who uses Android loves Google Now. They at least love Google Search. I just asked Google on my phone "How far are the Petronas Twin Towers from here" (here being Kuantan) and got directions on Maps, together with estimated distance and travel time. Not sure if it has been there forever and I didn't notice it, or it was added in the update. Either way, it's so cool. Voice search and the Knowledge Graph are amazing tools for us to easily get information no matter where we are. Google Search on Chrome will soon be getting voice search too. Can you imagine, verbally asking your laptop a question, and getting a spoken response back. The demo at the conference was just incredible and I can't wait to try it out myself. Reminders on Google Now are also a great addition, albeit a bit late to the show. 

2. Google Play Games
This has got to be one of the best things to come from the keynote. Using your Google+ credentials to sign-in to a game, you can save your game in the cloud, which allows you to continue playing on a different device later. You can also compare high-scores to other Google+ users as well as unlock achievements. There's also multi-player matching as well. And this service works on iOS too! Unlike the Game Centre which only works on iOS devices, Google Play Games services work across both Android AND iOS. This kind of openness is really why people love Google so much.

1. Everything is for everyone
Many people were expecting the latest version of Android to be announced. Unfortunately the announcement never came. However, all of these updates actually seem to be better than an update to Android. Joe Levi from Pocketnow explains it well when he said the following:

"Probably bigger news than all that is what Google didn’t announce today: a new version of Android. Some are disappointed. Some are ticked off. To those people I say: patience. Google’s update to their core services is much bigger than a new version of Android! Don’t believe me? Google’s updates (which will be rolling out to users over the next several weeks) will be available for every version of Android from Froyo (2.2) on up to Jelly Bean (4.2.2). They’ll work on your Samsung, your HTC, your Nexus, or your Xperia (or any other Android, for that matter). In short, by updating the core APIs, Google just did an end-run around carriers and OEMs to bring you the latest and greatest tools for your device."

There were of course, other announcements made like new location and Maps APIs, a new music streaming service built into Google Play Music, improvements to the Play Store and other development stuff, and all of these improvements will be available to everyone in just a few days/weeks. The list above is just a list of things that excited me personally. All in all, Google hit a home run with their keynote.

Google CEO Larry Page closing the keynote with an inspirational speech about technology.
Image: The Verge

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