Google IO 2012 Recap

So I am back from my first Google IO conference now after lucking out with the ticket purchase process (raffle?!) and missing out two year in a row before. I am glad it worked out this time, because it was a great show. In fact there were so many highlight and announcements that some products seemed to make no progress on the surface while in fact if you went to the respective sessions and paid attention you found out that LOTS is going on and I will mention some of my observations as GDG leader and long time Android developer and open source developer.

IO started a day early for me with the GDG Leaders Summit at the GooglePlex in MountainView. I met a ton of other enthusiastic leaders and look forward to working together with some of them. We all had fun seeing the JellyBean statue fresh out of the crate and not yet fully assembled and generally networking, chatting and exchanging ideas. It was great to find out about new initiatives like the developers live site, the work on the groups section as well as new programs like Google Business Groups (GBG) and Google Developer Experts (GDE). All in all there is some great stuff going on and the future of the GDG Victoria BC I started is definitely looking good.

The first actual conference started off with Android taking the center stage with announcements like Project Butter, the release of JellyBean, the Nexus 7 tablet, the Nexus Q, the r20 SDK release and more. Project Glass then took over with a specatular show using the Android powered(sic!!) hardware with some skydiving, biking and more action. Just check it out on YouTube..

The rest of Wednesday I spent in Android related sessions or talking to other Android developers around the conference and at the stands. It was great meeting old and new friends like the guys from TestDroid, JetBrains, Expedia, Square, Groupon, PayPal, Google and many others and spending time with them until late in the evening at the party.

Thursday started the second keynote with amazing announcements like G+ Events, Google Cloud Messaging and Google Compute Engine and ended with an unnecessary rehash of the stunts from the day before.

The first talk afterwards I attended was about the ADK that showed the evolution of the great hacker setup from last year to a more consumer ready product with great hackability. Out of the box it is a great little alarm clock with speakers and more, but thanks to its design based on an Arduino setup and many expansion capabilities it looks like a great little hacker project base in a good looking package. Attending the ADK talk meant that I missed most of the SDK tools talk but thanks to following the project in Git and on the mailing lists closely I missed nothing much. Now that r20 is out it will be time for me to repackage it for the Central Repository and the Android Maven Plugin.

The rest of the day I spent in other Android sessions rehashing things like the compatibility library and picking up a new little trick here and there. If there was one disappointment from my side during the day it was the announcement of the appcompat library integrating a ActionBar backwards compatible version just like ActionBarSherlock. Seems like a waste of time to do that to me and a typical Not-Invented-Here Google action. Why not just talk to Jake and get ActionBarSherlock merged in. I know that Jake would be all for that but did not have a chance to talk to the Googlers about it. So Adam Powell, how about it?

Unfortunately I missed out on all the Google TV sessions but talking to Christian at the invite only Unicorn session on Friday it seems like Google TV is going full steam and among other things is making it to a whole more countries including Canada. Yeah!

Thursday ended with a great dinner with friends at Osha Thai recapping
another exciting day.

Arriving at the venue on Friday on the other hand was a bit of a shocker. Level 3 of Moscone West was closed and all the great stands were gone. The displays on Level 2 were also gone and replaced with empty space and a few couches. The classes on the other hand were great with a full track of sessions on Android design. I took the opportunity to attend the up and close QA session with all the Google product managers. It was great chatting with Steve Lee about Project Glass in detail. I look forward to it coming to Canada in the next years. I also hope that Reto will take my request for a PDFView into consideration and we get something coming out of the QuickOffice acquisitions beyond the installed application on JellyBean.

Unfortunately the whole event ended very unceremonuously like so many other conferences. I wish they would do a farewell keynote as a last all get together event and go out with a bang rather than just petering out in the afternoon with a little bar hangout for a few hardcore team that want to come. But hey.. thats just a minor thing. Overall it was great and I hope to be back next year!

Now I just wish the Nexus Q would work in Canada and the Nexus 7 would work in landscape mode…

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