An estimated 2500+ developers descended on Moscone West today as Google started its first (annual?) Google I/O conference in San Francisco. The two day conference drew folks from all over the world.
While I was waiting in line for registration, I met a gentleman who came all the way from South Africa to learn about Google App Engine and OpenSocial. And I thought my flight was long! So many people showed up that the organizers had to let people in to the early sessions before they had even registered and gotten badges.
Google made a number of announcements during the conference today. Here are the highlights:
AOL and Google announced that AOL was adding support for OpenSocial.
Google Web Toolkit version 1.5 release candidate is out. It contains a ton of new features including Java 1.5 language support and increased performance. Simply recompiling existing applications will result in a 20-200% performance boost.
Google App Engine is now open for anyone to sign up and use immediately. No more waiting list!
Google announced some preliminary prices for App Engine's "pro" version coming later this year. This will let users go beyond the 5 million page views / 500MB limitations of the free version. To add another 5 million views will cost you about $40 per month if these figures hold up.
MySpace demonstrated a new version which uses Google Gears to provide local storage, sorting, and searching of messages from your MySpace contacts.
Vick Gundotra, Engineering VP at Google, lead the opening session. While Vick did a fine job, I had hoped to see one of the Google founders or CEO Eric Schmidt up there on stage to underscore Google's commitment to developers.
Google employees were everywhere in their black shirts. I estimate there were at least 100 of them, maybe more. During the opening session, the Google contingent gave several live demos, all of which went off without a hitch. The crowd favorite was a demonstration of a real live prototype Google Android phone, running Google Maps Street view. The presenter picked the phone up off the stand, and spun around with it in his hand. As he moved, the picture on the phone spun as well to match whatever direction he was pointing.
Videos of all the sessions and demos will be available on the Google I/O web site. All blogs and photos regarding the conference should be tagged with "IO2008". Stay tuned for more coverage here as well.