Google I/O is Google’s annual conference focused on developers. This year’s conference is packed with lots of announcements and updates. Due to the amount of relevant tech news, the Keynote will be broken up into three parts, one each over the next three days. We hope you enjoy the content!
We’re at the final leg of the Google I/O 2013 Keynote, and it’s been a blast so far. Below you’ll find details on the final couple hours of the keynote, including a Q & A session between Larry Page and the audience (page 2).
In the interest of giving enough details to entice yet not enough to bore, here are the highlights from the second hour. I’ve bolded the items that are of particular interest.
Amit Singhal (Senior VP and Google Fellow) came to the stage to highlight new features related to search:
Search is dramatically changing right before our eyes, and in the next 15 minutes I want to show you how, and in fact, why.
Growing up, like many of you, I was hooked on Star Trek. I would watch endless episodes of Star Trek, captivated by the future of technology it showed. I mean, a computer you can talk to, and it will answer everything you ask it? I dreamt of building that computer one day, and little did I know that I would grow up to become the person responsible for building by dream for the entire world.
Amit then highlighted three experiences that will build toward that dream: Answer, Converse, Anticipate.
In relation to Answer, Google’s Knowledge Graph has “over 570 million entities and growing.” A small announcement was given also: we will “start getting important statistics imported by the Knowledge Graph,” as well as languages being added (Polish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese, and Traditional Chinese).
In relation to Converse, Amit revealed Google’s goal: for us to be able to ask Google questions like we would ask a friend, on the Android and iOS platforms.
“And today, for the first time, I am happy to announce that all this goodness of conversational search will be coming to all your desktops and laptops through Chrome.” (Developers loved this.)
“…we will be bringing conversational search and hotwording…you can sit back, relax, say ‘OK Google’, ask your question, and have Google speak back the answer.”
He then switched to Anticipate, which focused on improvements to Google Now.
“Google Now was launched for Android last year…it has become a must-have for its users…the more you use it, the more useful it becomes for you.”
“And today, we are happy to announce that very soon, you will be able to set reminders for yourself in Google Now, and they will show up at the right place at the right time, whenever you need them.“ (Developers liked this.)
“In addition, we are also launching public transit commute time cards, and more cards for music, television, TV shows, and video games you are interested in.”
“But what we are really excited about is how all these experiences are coming together to make your life easy.”
Johanna Wright (VP, Search & Assist, Mobile) then took the stage to do a demo of these new features. I’ll show her interactions with Google in a conversation view:
Johanna: OK Google. Show me popular things to do in Santa Cruz.”
Google: Here are popular things to do in Santa Cruz. (Developers loved this.)
Johanna: OK Google. Show me pictures of the Santa Cruz boardwalk.
Google: Here you go. Some pictures related to the Santa Cruz boardwalk. (Developers liked this.)
Johanna: OK Google. How far is it from here?
Google: The drive from your location to Santa Cruz beach boardwalk is 73.9 miles. (Developers loved this.)
Johanna: OK Google. Show me seafood restaurants in Santa Cruz.
Google: Here are addresses for seafood restaurants near Santa Cruz.
Johanna: How tall do you have to be to ride the Giant Dipper [a ride in Santa Cruz]?
Google: You must be at least four feet three inches tall to ride Giant Dipper. (Developers loved this.)
[Swipes up to bring up Google Now, to see how far they are from the restaurant reservation.]
Johanna: When does my flight leave?
Google: Delta Airlines flight 1940 from SFO to JFK leaves at 11:30am on May 22nd. (Developers liked this.)
[Then used Voice Search to send an email to a friend, and to remind her to call her friend next week.]
“…reminders, that are launching in Google Now today…Reminders work on times, dates, and locations, including home and work.”
Johanna: Show me my pictures from New York last year.
Google showed a grouping of pictures. (Developers liked this.)
Amit returned to the stage to wrap up the search section:
I’m incredibly proud of the search experience that we are building and tremendously excited to bring it to hundreds of millions of people around the world, on the devices that they rely on every day. It’s important to remember though, this experience is rapidly developing, and it will take some time before it becomes the predominant search experience. There are several complex and unsolved scientific problems that we will have to solve before we get there, but our investment and commitment to getting there, sooner rather than later, is immense.
Everyone can easily access all of humanity’s information, and get what they need to improve their and their family’s lives. That, my friends, is the power of the new search experience that we are building at Google, and it will change how you and I experience this beautiful journey that we call life. (Developers loved this.)
Brian McClendon (VP, Google Maps) came to the stage to discuss the history of and new developments with Google Maps:
Google Maps helps you navigate from place to place, but it also helps you explore and discover the world around you.
…2005…We had launched with only part of the world…very recently, we published North Korea, making 200 [countries]. (Developers liked this.)
…50 Countries in Street View…We’ve driven 5 million miles with these cars…In 2012, we started generating new data from our existing aerial imagery.
But in the last year, we’ve had 30 percent year over year growth. And today, I’d like to announce, we have over 1 million websites using Google Maps in their site, improving their site.
Daniel Graf (Director, Google Maps) took the stage to discuss from feature improvements and additions to Google Maps:
[Talking about when Google Maps came to iOS.] People called it sleek, simple, beautiful, and let’s not forget, accurate. (Developers laughed at, and loved, this.)
Brian talked a lot about the power of Google Maps data. He mentioned we’re going beyond just directions and navigation. Maps are also about exploring and discovering places, and nowhere is that more critical than on a mobile phone. Today, we’re going to announce, we’re going to give you a sneak preview of the next major release from Google Maps for mobile, coming to Android, and of course, iOS.
The features included new Zagat rating integration, offers (Starbucks, etc.), a re-vamped incident experience, incident alerts (“tap on it to see details”), and dynamic rerouting (Google gives you an early warning and suggests a better route. (Developers liked this.)).
…we have a brand-new, fully-dedicated tablet Maps experience.
You can now type in “explore” and it gives an Explore experience, with tiles for different things to explore in the area (“coming this summer”).
Bernard and Jonah then took the stage to discuss three things missing in Google Maps: Built for You, Immersive Imagery, and The Map is the UI:
This is the new Google Maps. (Simpler look; developers loved this.)
Using latest standards, including WebGL, and vector maps. Results are now labeled directly on the map, instead of just pins you have to click on – “everything is right there on the map. The map is the user interface.” You can use a filter to show places your friends have searched for, cards show everything you need for each location, and there is now “Street View” for individual locations (restaurants, etc.).
Using the same data as Google Now, so it will get better and better the more you use it. (Developers loved this.)
If you need directions to a place with an unnamed road, you can click on it, and it will label the unnamed roads and highlight the route to get there. And when you click on one location, other locations related to it appear. (Developers loved this.)
It’s really easy, just clicking and clicking…the map is the user interface.
Can click on two locations, and it will automatically show directions in-between. (Developers loved this.) Also shows public transportation options.
You can switch to a “realistic” view and see a 3D model of an area on the map. (Developers loved this.)
…no plugins, no downloads. This is the Google Earth experience right here in the browser.
Can go inside a building and move around, based on images that users have uploaded (photo spheres look even better – “user-generated Street View”). Can then zoom out and see the whole world. (Developers loved this.)
And those clouds? They’re real-time. (Developers really loved this.)
But we can go further.
This is the Earth traveling through space, and you can see the stars and the Milky Way at the right position, and as the Sun sets behind the Earth, the night lights come out, and this is the future of Google Maps. (Developers really, really loved this.)
Well, you can try this today. This is the new Google Maps, experience the preview on the desktop, so it’s the perfect thing to try with your new Pixel…invite…And everybody else, please go to maps.google.com/preview, and sign up, and we’ll send the first invites tomorrow morning.
Larry Page (CEO) then made a surprise appearance (there was speculation on his appearance, based on his discussion of vocal cord issues):
And one of the themes I just want to talk to you about is how important it is for us, all of the developers here in the room and watching, to really focus on technology and get more people involved in it.
I think everyone today is excited about technology.
So I think we also have a lot more devices that we use interchangeably. You know, we use tablets, phones, laptops, and you know, even the Google Glass. All those things we’re using. And that’s why we put so much focus on our platforms – on Android and Chrome. It’s really important in helping developers and Google build great user experiences across these different devices, to have these platforms. And I’m tremendously excited about all the innovation that you’re bringing to life. Technology should do the hard work so that people could get on with doing the things that make them the happiest in life.
Talked about the list of tech needs and opportunities growing.
…we’re still moving slow relative to the opportunities that we have.
Negativity – “‘us vs. them’ mentality…being negative is not how we make progress.
Talked about smart cars – saving commute times, safer, etc.
Computer Science has a marketing problem. We’re the nerdy curmudgeons.
Today we’re just scratching the surface of what’s possible.
See the next page for Larry Page’s Q & A session with the attendees.