Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Waves, Androids, and Vic Gundotra Discovers the Internet (Outside of Cupertino)

Being the Google fan that I am, I simply could not go without having a post about Google I/O. Unfortunately, school work has me on a short leash so I'm a bit late. Let me just get it out there and say that from the keynotes alone, the conference looked amazing. Unfortunately, I would have been there had it not been for my parents' approval (yeah, didn't even expect it with California as the destination). Anyway, for those who were there, or who saw the videos online, or who even read the numerous blog posts about the conference, you know that it was an exciting experience. Google Wave was released to the public, the Chrome Web Store was previewed, Google TV was announed, Android Froyo was demonstrated (with its own awesome subset of features), and numerous Apple cracks were unleashed along the way. Not to mention that Google Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra discovered the Internet, which is a profound achievement for Google.

Before getting to the exciting future of mobile computing, my personal favorite from the conference was Wave being released to the public. The redesigned email collaboration service was announced at Google I/O last year, and has been in developer's preview ever since. The reason why Google Wave really is such an awesome program is that it has been the first tool where true collaboration can actually occur. People complain that nobody ever interacts in the true face-to-face manner that has previously been used for collaboration; everybody texts or emails rather than calling or meeting. Google Wave probably comes the closest to face-to-face communication than any other online collaboration service released. Updates occur real-time, just like conversation, and the possibilities of add-ons and attached items are endless. Unfortunately, I feel the stubbornness of the average computer user would be too much for Wave to overcome, so a widespread usage does not seem to be in Wave's future.

With Wave put aside, Android really took the stage during the conference. Why? Because Google pretty much schooled Apple on their own product. Notice how in Vic Gundotra's keynote how almost every time he needed to compare the new features or speed on Android 2.2 (Froyo), he used an iPad. If you were to ask any even remotely technical enthusiast before last week, they would probably affirm that the iPhone has a pretty good chance at holding the mobile market for at least another year. Now, this just is the first and last year of the iPhone, and many years of Android are yet to come. If I were Apple right now, I would start to brainstorm on how I could save my market, because if they do not move fast, let's just say the mobile world does not support multitasking: you can't have your iPhone running at the same time as your Android. (Bad joke, I know, but I had to say it.) If anything, this entire ordeal has just made me want to get an Android phone so much more.

But one thing that probably got a little underscored by the entire Android revolution is Google's purchase of Simplify Media. Simplify was a program launched a while back that let you sync your music across multiple computers, and it was quite useful when you put aside a few login bugs. Google has really taken a major step in this purchase because now consumers will be able to stream music from their desktop computer into their phone. Never has anything like that been done before, and what it means for the user is that they are no longer limited by how big their phone's SD card is. In fact, it might even be a struggle to find enough music to like when filling the numerous gigabytes, if not terabytes, of space that most desktop computers have. All that's left is for Google to make a cloud-based iTunes and Apple might as well give up there. (And on a side note, how did Google pull this off without anybody really knowing: Simplify Media announced their "new direction" in March, when they stopped new account creations, and Google was able to hide the purchase from us until May.)

Anyway, as much as I wished I could have been there, the YouTube keynotes provided most of the important things Google needed to tell the world. Look forward to a world ruled by Android, not iPhone, and get ready for a whole new definition of mobile advertising, if not mobile computing itself. Now if only the Chrome Web Store was open so we could take it for a test spin.

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