Developers attending Google's I/O 2015 conference in San Francisco this week can expect to cover a wide range of topics, from the latest features coming to the Android mobile operating system to lessons learned from the search giant's many technology innovation "moonshots."
The annual developers conference runs May 28-29, at the Moscone Center West with a keynote address by Senior Vice President of Products Sundar Pichai. Other speakers set to hit the stage over the two-day event include Astro Teller, head of the Google X experimental labs; Alex Komoroske, Lead Product Manager for the Chrome Open Web Platform team; and Matías Duarte, head of the Material Design team.
Among some of the expected highlights of the conference are news about the next version of Android -- Android M (the actual "M" name is yet to be announced) -- updates about the latest wearable devices from the Advanced Technologies and Products (ATAP) group, and details about Google's advances in satellite imagery. Attendees can also anticipate hearing plenty about gaming, maps and how to make the most of material design, the Android strategy announced last year to deliver a consistent and integrated user experience across devices.
Satellite Imagery, Traffic Data and More
In a sandbox session on urban mobility following Pichai's keynote, Google plans to share details about what it's learned from Waze's Connected Citizens Program, which has been gathering crowdsourced data on traffic patterns in 30 cities around the world. Thursday's program lineup will also give developers a look at the latest news about Google Cloud Messaging, as well as coming updates to the Android platform.
Another sandbox session on Thursday, led by Google Games Developer Advocate Shanee Nishry, will explore developments in virtual reality. The Android Auto team will talk about the research process and challenges they're tackling to create an in-vehicle Android experience that doesn't distract drivers or compromise safety.
Attendees on Thursday will also have a chance to hear an update on what Google has been doing in satellite imaging since acquiring the firm Skybox in 2014. In its description for the session, Google notes, "With Skybox, we’re looking to take the next step forward in satellite imaging and find new ways to help people use data from space to solve problems on Earth."
'Wearables That Will Blow Your Socks Off'
Friday's schedule will feature a session on "Tech for a Better World, Faster," in which speakers from several non-profits supported by Google -- including Charity:water, Code for America, NexLeaf and HandUp -- will discuss the obstacles and success stories involved with using technology to "address humanity's biggest challenges."
Astro Teller, head of the Google X experimental labs, plans to give a talk on "Helping Moonshots Survive Contact with the Real World." Teller, dubbed Google's "Captain of Moonshots," will discuss what his company has learned from failure, describing "hard-earned" lessons from its work on the self-driving , Project Loon -- a project to launch high-altitude balloons that can deliver Internet connectivity to underserved parts of the world -- and Makani Power, a Google-backed company working on airborne wind turbines that resemble kites.
In a Tuesday post on Google's Developers Blog, Mike Pegg hinted at "a few Googley surprises" coming at this year's I/O. There's a lot of speculation that this could include some new innovations in virtual reality, although one Google session on ATAP also promises to unveil a live-action short by "Fast and Furious" director Justin Lin, as as well as details about "wearables that we hope will blow your socks off" -- with the added hint that, "We mean this more literally than you might think...."
We reached out to Raul Castanon-Martinez, senior analyst for enterprise mobility and cloud at 451 Research, and he told us he expects to see a special focus at I/O on wearables, connected cars, and connected homes.
"I expect announcements will center on how Google will bring everything together: devices, data, interconnection," Castanon-Martinez said. "The big announcements I expect will be not so much related to the devices (i.e., Google Glass or products that compete iPhone, Apple Watch) as much as the platform for powering these devices and the ecosystem that ties everything together. This will be either the new version of Android or a new platform for the IoT."