I had the opportunity to attend Google I/O in San Francisco last week. Here is my analysis of the keynote:
Android M - for More usability
The next release of Android, M, is coming in Q3 2015. This release will focus on usability, a good move as usability is Google's #1 weakness in its smartphone battle against Apple. Usability for Google does not mean a new user interface - but a number of improvements. The biggest improvement is probably Android Pay. The speed (fast loading time) of Android Pay will likely delight users, but still needs apps and developers to fill out the ecosystem.
Android Wear has made good progress, too - Google is augmenting the platform with regular updates, which creates value for early users. With over 4k apps for Android watch, Google has substantial counter weight against the Apple iWatch.
Brillo and Weave for IoT
Google wants to establish itself as a key player in the IoT space, and two products, Brillo and Weave, are essential to that plan. Brillo is an OS for "things" (think Android Lite) that leverages Android assets. Weave is the communication protocol that enables devices to communicate with one another. Weave operates cross-platform, so products running Brillo can communicate with smart "things" on other platforms.
Expect Brillo to roll out in Q3 of 2015. Weave will arrive the following quarter, in Q4 of 2015.
GoogleNow changes paradigm
Google's latest iteration of of its virtual assistant, GoogleNow, incorporates context to provide more robust, personalized recommendations to the user. Previously, Now was limited to gathering information from Google apps like Google Maps. Today information can be gathered by #GoogleNow at the platform level. GoogleNow can now provide users with information they didn't even know they needed--information drawn from Google's vast information graph. GoogleNow gets progressively smarter with each gesture--another cool layer of context.
This may be a security/privacy issue - but as with any innovation, let's look at the gains in productivity before we make the call. More data always leads to better analytics, and we see the gains made by Google for its GoogleNow product as having the potential to profoundly affect the direction of Future of Work technology.
This was the most Android-centric I/O in recent memory. It was great to see a keynote focused on Android and its developers. It was also good to see all products announced with a 2015 delivery date. I was surprised that Google Cloud Platform and the Google Apps were featured only briefly, as they provide significant value to the Android ecosystem and developers.