Five of the Most Interesting Announcements at Google IO 2013

Image Credit Google
Note to self: Do not spend the day off of the internet next time there is a Google event like IO.

I was indeed disconnected all day Wednesday when Google had their IO developer event, which resulted in a complete anxiety attack when I did finally power up my computer and phone to read about the latest events in tech. A three hour keynote presentation by Google with hundreds of announcements and no effective way to read it all.

My Twitter stream was 100% Google and there was no way to sift through all the new features. So I did the only logical thing and I disconnected again. Best way to deal with a feeling of being overwhelmed, procrastinate the inevitable.

Well, now, 12 hours later, I am making some sense of it all and reading up on what Google announced at IO and while there was indeed many new releases, I think the important ones can be summed up in five major categories, so here you are, at your service:

5 Google+: We Won’t Go Down Without a Fight!

Say what you want about Google+, call it a ghost town, say it doesn’t stand a chance against Facebook, the bottom line is, the team behind Google+ is working its butt off and does not know the meaning of rest. Tons of new features surrounding photography, a totally new layout, and endless innovation surrounding communication. If we are judging by product advancement alone, Facebook doesn’t stand a chance against Google+.

4 You like the Galaxy S4? Then you’ll LOVE the New Nexus.

Well, Samsung just released the new S4 and has sold millions in the first few days since its release. So comes Google and offers the same hardware with the pure Android experience. We already talked about the S4 and why it doesn’t excite me but with vanilla Android, that might be a totally different story. Of course, with the $650 price tag, I doubt it will sell like the $300 Nexus 4 did.

3 Google Messaging is Less Confusing. At Least in Theory.

Google has a problem when it comes to messaging. Google+ messaging, Gtalk, and Hangouts are three different messaging solutions and the experience is totally fragmented. The company announced the new Hangouts messaging platform that unifies them all across iOS, Android, and Chrome. Except, as I write these words, the experience is even worse than before. My Hangouts section, which appears in Google+ shows me a list of offline contacts with whom I can hang out. Not a single online contact with whom to chat. The next tab is my Gmail, which shows me hundreds of contacts online. Totally confused but I assume Google will smoothen this out when everyone gets the new Hangouts. They better.

2 Developing for Android is a Little Less Messy Now

While the numbers are on Android’s side, developing and releasing a successful app in Google Play is not exactly a walk in the park. Google wants to fix that. The company announced a whole group of new features to enhance the whole Android development process. These include a translation tool to localize your apps, a new alpha testing platform to roll out an update to select users of your app, Android studio, which is intended to help developer productivity, and more.

1 Remember the App Gap?

Listen, I have said it before and I will say it again. No one needs 750k apps in an App Store. Having said that, people seem to like these contests so who are Google and Apple to prevent you from getting what you want? Both Apple and Google announced their latest app numbers and the app gap between the two platforms has officially disappeared. Apple has had 50 billion app downloads since it launched the App Store, and Google, which had a later start, has seen 48 billion. 900 million Android activations, 48 billion downloads, and 2.5 billion Android app installations every month. How is that for taking over the mobile world?
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