A few weeks ago I had the time of my life attending Google I/O 2014! I basically was going a million miles an hour from the time the plane touched down at SFO, and it was awesome.
I kicked off the celebrations on Tuesday afternoon, attending a cocktail hour for Google Glass Explorers. It was a great way to start off the celebration; amazing views, great food, and most importantly phenomenal people.
Every person I talked to was doing something really cool with Glass, and I was really disappointed I had to leave early to catch another event: the Women Techmakers Dinner.
I ran-walked down to the Women Techmakers Dinner, and WOW! Again, beautiful setting, great food and phenomenal people! I was just floored with the talent and awesomeness of every person I met at the dinner.
The next day was the start of the conference! I arrived at Moscone around 7am, and got in line for the keynote. To my great astonishment, I was first in line! I verified with staff that this indeed was right place to wait for the keynote. Sadly, around 8am, the staff realized they told me to wait in the wrong line. D’oh! I had to get in line all the way at the back of the real line. They had a little donut cart they pushed up and down the line, though so it wasn’t all bad 🙂
They started seating people a little too late, and the keynote had to start before everyone was seated. We missed the first 30 minutes or so. Here’s me in line outside, furiously trying to stream the keynote as we wait for our seats:
Of course it wasn’t working too well haha! It was a bummer to miss the opening antics, but I was SO lucky to walk in right as they started talking about Android. I got a super close seat, on the side, and got to see all the beautiful details of Android L and Material Design up close.
After the keynote, I spent the day literally running from one session to the next. There was so much to see and play with, and definitely not enough time for it all. With every session, I got to sit by phenomenal people. It was easy to stay in touch, too, as every badge was NFC enabled. Touching your phone to somebody’s badge would send you to their g+ profile. Pretty neat!
My favorite session was the Android Fireside chat, where a bunch of people on the Google Android team get on stage, and audience members ask them questions. People had some pretty good questions. I especially appreciated the question about emulators, but was a little disappointed at the response. In short, they are working to improve the native emulators, have no plans for partnering with Genymotion, and no plans for implementing simulators.
I went into IO with 2 main hopes: Android Studio would come out of alpha, and that there would be some kind of an announcement about Google Glass. I am excited that at least one of my wishes was granted! Android Studio is officially in beta and that is AWESOME! Google is full steam ahead for Android Studio. In the Android Fireside Chat, an audience member expressed irritation at Google’s enthusiasm for Android Studio, because he likes Eclipse. (First of all… WHAT?! Dude…. seriously.) The team said they would continue supporting Eclipse, but basically AS is the way moving forward.
My other wish wasn’t quite granted. There were 2 main Glass announcements at IO: (1) Glass is now part of the Android Wear family, and (2) Glassware submissions will be easier. It is interesting that Glass is being rounded up as a ‘wearable’, vs its previous status of Poster Child of Intergalactic Awesomeness From the Future. Also, the team didn’t seem too sure how the actual programming part of Android Wear for Glass was going to jive with existing Glass programming. To be determined, I guess. We were told that all the details will be hashed out over the next few months.
The Glassware submission process announcement is pretty exciting, though. This opening up of the marketplace to developers means (to me, if I may speculate) that Glass is revving up even more for a consumer release.
So these Glass announcements weren’t terrible, but I was a little bummed at the Glass session. They showed off some fun hacks they built with Glass, and it was definitely entertaining, but they weren’t really doing anything new. I think the saddest part, was screencast. They were using the screencast tool from My Glass to cast from their device to their computer, and it had hardly any lag. I was like “Ohhhh they are at least going to release this tool to devs now! Woohoo!!!!” But then… no. That tool is just for internal Android development. So we are stuck with ASM and variants.
Speaking of Android Wear… the Android smart watch is officially here! I had fun wearing it, and was surprised and how handy it was. I chose the Samsung watch, and I am looking forward to learning more about programming it in the coming weeks / months. I am especially looking forward to that Moto 360, too!
Overall, Google IO 2014 was an absolute success for me. I had a blast and met so many phenomenal people! And WOW do I have so much to do! I am so thankful I got to attend, and I am already crossing my fingers that I’ll be so lucky next year.