Google I/O Keynote Highlight Reel

For those you who haven’t quite been living in a Google world as of late, you may have missed Google’s 3-hour keynote speech at their yearly developer conference titled Google I/O. Read on for a roundup of some of the key announcements we saw during the keynote. 

Google Play Music All Access

As is the case with much of the big news regarding tech companies on the web, this was leaked prior to the conference. Google announced it was throwing its hat into the world of on-demand music streaming services. The name—yes, the whole thing—is a bit much, but it has a few noteworthy functions that set it apart from the competition. One of the most notable is that All Access meshes your own existing music collection with the vast collection of music on-demand from Google’s library that has been agreed to by all of the major record labels. The service, available right now, will generally retail at $9.99/month in the US. However, those early adopters who activate a trial of the new service will be privy to sign on with a $2/mo discount for the life of their subscription, effectively making the fee $7.99/mo.

Google Play Game Services

Another leak that surfaced just prior to the conference was the addition of a slew of new features to improve gaming in the Google ecosystem. This can be compared to Apple’s Game Center, which offers features such as leaderboards, in-game chat, and achievements. The most intriguing of the new additions is a cloud saving function that will allow users to save data (progress) from any device and have it synchronized and made available across multiple devices. This would certainly alleviate the sorrow of achieving a certain degree of progress on your phone only to move to your tablet and have to start all over.

The challenge of this game is to
not bang your heads together.


There were quite a few shake-ups regarding Google+ announced, but one of the better improvements pertains to uploading pictures via Google+. A new “Auto Enhance” mode will automatically adjust things like contrast, brightness, and color levels, as well as offering some more socially focused tweaks such as hiding blemishes and touching up skin tones. Don’t worry–if you prefer to maintain full control, the feature can be disabled or even reversed if you don’t like what you see.

Another mode, Auto Awesome, adds more advanced context-dependent options; it will create animated gifs (recently confirmed as “JIFs”) from images that are similar and stitching them together to form panoramic or group shots. A third service, Auto Highlight, is helpful for showing off the ‘best’ photos of a particular album. Though this may be less useful for the artistically inclined.

The Hangouts App

There are 41 new/improved features in the latest rendition of Google+, and there is a new standalone app for Hangouts. This new app integrates text, photo, and video options into one convenient location. Most notably, your conversations are available and synchronized across devices and platforms (Android, iOS, web, or via Gmal).

Okay, who invited him?

Google Maps

Google Maps has been entirely rebuilt, top to bottom. Tailored searches get smarter and more accurate over time; the more you use Maps, the better it becomes. Most of the actual functionality is the same, but the rebuild allows for a much tighter integration and can now take advantage of Google Earth and Streetview imagery. You can even zoom out to a continental/global view and see a live view of the clouds.

Google Play for Education

Google is also adding some extra attention to the classroom with a new and dedicated app store that will launch later this year. The apps available in the new store are sortable and searchable according to education level and subject. The idea is that teachers would be able to select a particular app to use before pushing it out to the students in their class. The same push-method can be used for other content such as documents and YouTube videos as well. It’s a small innovation, but one that could very well launch many classrooms across the country into the 21st century.

“But who needs teachers when
you have Google, am I right?”

That’s the scoop on the Google I/O Conference—have you started to see these changes yet? What do you love/hate about them?

photo credit: yukop via photopin cc


Dan is the self-proclaimed (and published in New York Post as) "King Geek." He is an entrepreneur, Android evangelist, bacon lover, and nap enthusiast. You can connect with Dan on Google+.