Google I/O

Lots of new stuff to unpack from Google’s I/O keynote today. First, Android 4.1 “Jelly Bean”, which contains a powerful new “Google Now” feature:

Google Now tells you today’s weather before you start your day, how much traffic to expect before you leave for work, when the next train will arrive as you’re standing on the platform, or your favorite team’s score while they’re playing.

The underlying data for this is your Google products activity history. On the one hand, it’s disconcerting that Google has all this information, but on the other, it’s incredible to see its contributions to new products.. The promo page for Now isn’t up yet, but it should be worth waiting for.

There are some nice improvements to notifications and widgets, and they’ve fine-tuned some of the animations throughout the OS. Joseph J. Schmitt was amused by that:

So it looks like the Java VM can yield buttery smooth animations… it just need a 4-core processor and 12-core GPU to do it.

The update will apparently be available next month to three devices. I guess some things don’t, or can’t, change.

Google released a 7-inch Nexus tablet, to be made by ASUS, and you’ve already heard everything about it. It looks like a solid Kindle Fire competitor. Of note, it only has a front-facing camera, and that camera is only for video chat. Good to see Google has the balls to admit that taking pictures with a tablet is stupid.

There was also a long presentation to announce the availability of a developer-only version of Project Glass. Not cheap, though:

A pair of beta Google Glasses costs $1,500 and will start shipping to I/O attendees next year.

Next year, and only for US developers. It’s a piece of technology I’m not sure I get. It’s exciting, but it feels premature to even announce it, let alone ship a developer preview.