Google I / O 2015 through the eyes of a programmer

    While writing my article about personal experience on Google I / O 2015, I was already ahead of them: "Google I / O 2015 through the eyes of a non-programmer . " But it seems to me that my article will also be useful, since it describes this conference from a slightly different angle - through the prism of the Android programmer who got there. Therefore, there will be a little more specificity and a little less enthusiasm.

    I’ve been working in Silicon Valley for about two years and this year for the first time in my life I was lucky enough to get on Google I / O. This conference is not like all those that I went before, at least in that despite the considerable cost of the ticket ($ 900), it is almost impossible to buy. And the matter is not only in a large number of people from all over the world, but also in the fact that the vast majority of invitations are distributed among employees of companies in one way or another connected with Google technologies.

    Unfortunately, there are inaccuracies in the article I mentioned. For example, the phrase
    To do this, you need to have time to buy a ticket for $ 900 - and they end very quickly.
    not quite true. They do not end there. And there is no need to keep up.

    There were several days for everyone to register and authorize their card for $ 900. And then everything happened like a draw of an American H1b visa in recent years - through a lottery ...

    It is curious that most of the employees of the Dobra Corporation itself cannot get there at all if they are not involved in one of the presentations or help to them. This is quite logical, since otherwise Google I / O would consist only of Google employees (now 55,000+ people work in it).

    In this article, I would like to share the impressions of an ordinary programmer who found himself at this event.

    I would like to approach such an event in the right mood, and therefore, the day before the conference, I decided to attend one of the many free I / O events around. The choice fell on the most promoted party from Twitter .

    However, it brought few positive emotions: tasteless cocktails and food among many geeks unfamiliar to me immediately set out for an early departure. The hope for at least some interest flashed when one of the employees of the microblogging company came up to me to talk. But he turned out to be a rather boring manager, reluctantly campaigning for them to work and talking about the advantages of Crashlytics , which I use for my personal application.

    At the same time, he had to tear himself pretty hard, because against the background, the DJ played loudly and completely off topic. After the manager told me everything he wanted and went off to entertain the other party people, I decided to go out and get some air. And when it turned out that in case of leaving the building it was no longer possible to return back - he hastened to retire home to rest.

    Arriving home and re-reading the invitation letter from Google, I began to think about the meaning of “first come first serve” regarding viewing the introductory part of the conference (Keynote). It turned out that I had to come to San Francisco early in the morning of the previous day to get the coveted blue bracelet ...

    Day 1

    In the end, I got to the place only at 8 am on the day of the conference itself and received an orange loser bracelet. He allowed to watch this Keynote through the broadcast on the screens of the first floor, and not from the biggest hall of the 2nd floor of the Moscone center, where it actually passed, packed to capacity. Fortunately, this was the only minus of the orange ones, so in a couple of hours I became a full-fledged participant.

    But the conference nevertheless started a little from another ... Arriving at the Moscone center an hour before the opening of the conference, I received a ticket and a bracelet (with NFC technology) for 10 minutes and ... went to stand in line for the orange:

    Next was another, comparable in length, line for blue bracelets.

    And I have never seen such long bursts in my life!

    There were so many people that the organizers came up from time to time and turned the line into a new snake. And this snake girdled not only Moscone Center West, but also the nearest business district with the InterContinental hotel.
    I was glad that from time to time we were given donuts, and when the lines began to move, we even met hot coffee along the road.

    During the movement, it somehow happened that I was mistaken and when approaching the building I was among blue, not orange bracelets. Already being saddened by the thought that I would have to start my campaign from scratch, I went to one of the organizers, explained the situation and, surprisingly, he let me into the building along with the blue ones.

    In the NFC building, the chip of my bracelet did not allow me to enter the audience where Keynote was taking place ... But after another explanation, I was allowed to go down and go to my Playground for the orange:

    As a result, I was there at about 9 am, and in the schedule this time was meant as the end of breakfast and the beginning of the pre-Keynote Show. That is, I had about half an hour to calmly sit down and eat.

    The pre-Keynote show itself consisted of an arkanoid game on giant screens surrounding the entire hall between two visitors from among the blue badges:

    Well, then the colorful opening show began, which is worth seeing once: 7V-fIGMDsmE

    The main part was started by the favorite of the local public Sundar Pichai- Vice President of Google for Android, Chrome and Google Apps. He briefly talked about the success of Android in the world, and struck me with the numbers of the Chromecast project :

    Then an excursion into the improvements of Android M began.
    After the terrible Lollipop, I was pleasantly surprised that Google acknowledged its mistakes and set the main task of the new release: “speed up and polishing "! The rights of access to private functions that are separately permitted by the user , backup of application data, and, finally, support for themes instead of shells that are being filed by manufacturers are the right steps.

    For web developers, the Polymer project, rewritten from scratch, is probably of most interest .

    For those who wish, the full videos of most sessions are available here: plus there are already a bunch of reviews of this conference on the Internet (for example, here , here and here ), so I won’t repeat it.

    I can only say that the greatest number of applause (including mine) was during the announcement of the unlimited size of the cloud storage of photos and videos for all Google Photos users (even on iOS). Moreover, an unlimited number of photos can now be stored for free with a resolution of up to 16MP, and video - 1080P! Details are already on the gytime in this article . Photos

    application itselfOn Android, I was also pleased: from the group photo selection interface to the rocket science photo search engine by text request. In a presentation, Google said that their technology is even able to distinguish tree frog from other types of frogs.

    It was also amazing how in my personal archive, when I click on the face of a child I know, Photos even displays photos of 4 years ago, in which I myself can hardly recognize the similarities.

    The approach to locations was also not without innovation. This project uses not only geo-tags recorded in the EXIF ​​field, but also determines the coordinates by analyzing the objects presented in the photos themselves. This allows you to get really relevant answers when looking for a specific place.

    I really liked the way the zoom gesture was implemented: photo icons smoothly change in size from full-screen to tiny squares grouped by month and year. And for any size, a corresponding preview tile is formed.

    After synchronization, viewing and searching photos / videos is also available from all devices through the application and from the web interface: The

    option to delete photos and videos from the device after uploading them to the service (menu-> Delete device copy) seemed curious. IMHO, this makes sense for a given conservation quality. Plus, they are still always at hand in the Photos app.

    After the first presentation, I finally went to explore the whole space. I note right away that six months ago I had a chance to visitSamsung Developer Conference held in the same building. Therefore, it was especially interesting for me to see how Google posted everything here.

    The first floor began with a section for printing and issuing badges, bracelets and souvenir flasks for water:

    Then there was a large area for exiting the Playground and just sitting:

    Well, the first floor ended with a section selling designer souvenirs of local manufacturers:

    I really remembered what it looked like turn on the escalator after lunch. There were no organizers or limiters - people themselves lined up in a row and absolutely no one tried to cut everyone on the right:

    The memories of my recent trip to St. Petersburg were still quite fresh in my memory, but then I clearly felt how far our culture is far from California ...

    I can not help but recall the cute hygiene table in the toilets:

    I did not even see this at Samsung and Twitter conferences !

    The second floor was given to all kinds of seminars. And it started with an unusual format, when all the listeners are given wireless headphones, and the presenter says in a whisper into the microphone:

    The idea is really good, but unfortunately, the seminars were notoriously popular in this audience, but the more technical ones, which gathered too many people Unfortunately, they were broadcast into a regular microphone, which was often inaudible.

    Then there was a “audience” assembled from ordinary boxes, in which seminars were held to increase the audience.
    And behind it began stands with representatives of the company Dobra, answering questions of those wishing:

    Next was a passage deep into the second floor and to the corner for designers:

    In the center of the second floor there was a large space with stands for independent study, video games, table football, swings and audiences ( the main largest hall is to the full length on the right):

    Finally, the third floor was opened by the Android Auto project :

    Then there was Android Wear : Ara , Soli , Jacquard

    projects with 3D Tango in the background:

    In the end - family stands and the absolutely frivolous Androidify project :

    In it, any visitor could create their own character and see him dancing on one of the screens:

    And also order prints of stickers with this character for free. Moreover, the project attracted so many who wanted to, that they stopped accepting print orders at the beginning of the second day ...

    After exploring the territories, I ended up, as it turned out, at the most useless workshop “What's new in Google Play services":

    Unfortunately, instead of a serious review of the most significant a product of the entire Android ecosystem - it was just an advertising show from two comedians shooting t-shirts at the public ...
    For those who wish, the video of this comedy is available in the full version here .

    Meanwhile, more technical lectures were held in small “classrooms”, but there was not enough space there:

    In total, I was able to attend about 5 of these lectures and still brought some useful knowledge from there. Plus, in between I met one developer from Groupon, which also turned out to be informative and interesting.

    At the end of the first day, my colleagues and I went to the Chromecast Party, where there were good drinks and snacks, as well as a pleasant atmosphere for communication. But an hour of communication with each other was enough for us and we headed to the official end of the first day - I / O After Hours :

    There were beers, wines and snacks such as tacos, hot dogs, burgers. Again, a very comfortable place to chat, and even in the fresh air! An extra hour of walking with colleagues, talking with engineers of other companies and I went home.

    Day 2

    The next day, unfortunately, started again with lines:

    And this time they were divided into those who wanted to pick up their gift Nexus 9 and those who just want to enter the conference.

    About 10 minutes before the opening, everyone began to move very actively. And even my turn to give out gifts ended pretty quickly thanks to the huge number of stands and the quick delivery of NFC bracelets.

    Breakfast was already served in my favorite Playground audience and people were busy hammocks: The

    day was opened with a non-singularly entertaining lecture about the design of the future Jacquard clothing. There were long explanations of how hard it is to endow everyday clothes with areas with capacitive controllers.

    Then a representative of one of the most unfashionable local companies, Levi's, appeared on the stage and tediously told how excited he was to build a partnership with modern technologies.

    It seemed to me that Levi's just really wants to interest young people, without wasting money on modern clothing designs.

    Then I decided to get a closer look at the various stands, and also talked with representatives of the Dobra Corporation on hot issues for me. Unfortunately, there were practically no Google engineers there. And numerous developer attorneys could not answer my questions about the algorithms of these or those components.
    An interesting idea came up with Google Code labs:

    Computers plus all the necessary devices for doing exercises at hand, and any visitor can get acquainted with new technologies in conditions close to combat.

    In the middle of the day I went to some rather superficial lectures on optimization in Android and was pleasantly surprised by the current state of the Android Auto project:

    Hyundai Sonata already sells its cars with support for this technology, coupled with Apple's CarPlay .

    I liked that everything worked quickly, without problems, Google Maps are specially tuned for use in the car, and voice recognition from Google is really a lot more useful thing in the car than sluggish working analogues from auto manufacturers.

    The project looked much more viable than the recent DirectPlay implementation that I saw at a Samsung conference. I don’t know if the technology itself is to blame or just glitches and poor Korean implementation.

    The idea of ​​Android Auto itself is quite interesting: the car acts only as an input / output device, and the phone (suitable for any device with Android L on board) is the application storage and the head of the entire system. The main plus is the simplicity of updating the system shell (with the new Android firmware), applications (with their updating via Google Play) and the computing part itself (with the purchase of a new smartphone). From the car - only a screen with capacitive control, a microphone, speakers and GPS (it usually works better than the built-in phone). But on cheap trim levels without navigation, manufacturers, unfortunately, are not going to implement support for Android Auto. Capitalism.

    • Need offline navigation?
      Google promises it for free on Google Maps for everyone soon.
    • Online music?
      Pandora, Spotify, Google Music and others have already implemented their application compatibility with the Android Auto SDK.
    • Instant messengers?
      Facebook, Whatsapp, Telegram and others are also available, but the keyboard, of course, is blocked while driving. This is where all the power of speech recognition comes in handy. I hope that offline recognition will be tweaked too.

    Of the lectures on the second day, the most informative one seemed to me about this design for virtual reality.
    In general, the very fact that Google Cardboard was not a mockery of Samsung VR, but a serious project for me personally was a kind of revelation after last year's I / O. It's funny that this year we were presented with a second-generation Cardboard .

    But how much attention and projects ( Jump , Experiments ) was given to him this year shows a very serious attitude of the corporation of Good ...

    And the design lecture for Virtual Reality looked really pretty serious:

    I remembered tips about choosing the size of surrounding objects, as well as the danger of perceiving limited space and sharp corners by some users. For a more convenient VR design, the new Cardboard Unity SDK has prefab experience and C # scripts that can be easily customized. And to preview the changes directly on the Cardboard, you don’t even have to reassemble the application!

    It was also interesting to listen to ideas about attracting the user's attention to a particular place with the help of lighting, sounds and incompletely shown objects.

    A lot of useful information on this topic can be found at: and

    Google has also officially recognized the backwardness of technology at the moment: for a comfortable viewing of VR, they believe that you must have at least 60 pixels to display 1 degree of space along any axis. At the same time, Nexus 6 allows you to get only 16 ... This, in principle, is pretty obvious so - just look at the giant pixels when using Cardboard.

    In the end there was a really funny comedy contest: “Speechless at Google I / O”. It is based on the modern PowerPoint karaoke game, which makes fun of boring corporate presentations. It has recently been held between various IT companies in Silicon Valley and this year, Google’s renowned engineer Chet Haase became the winner .

    Here, other engineers and managers of Google became his rivals. Each performance began with the rotation of a virtual drum with themes using the Soli wireless controller just introduced . Then, for the category of the report that fell out, the audience added specifics. For example, for the topic “Presentation of a new Google product”, the audience chose the product “Android underpants” ...
    Next, the participant had to conduct a report for the entire audience without preparation.

    Well, the main feature was that the speaker, although he switched the slides himself, was completely unaware of what would be depicted on them.

    The slides, of course, in the spirit of the game itself were very delusional, incoherent, and sometimes even awkward. For example, the winner of this competition Chet Haase, on one of the slides saw the following:

    And he talked about the efforts of the whole company and included this slide on the phrase: "... and this is what the interns came up with".


    In general, I liked the conference. I can’t compare with last year’s, so I won’t lament, like many, that people used to be kinder and cleaner water.

    Basically, this, of course, is an advertisement for new Google projects. The technical part is very rare and superficial.
    In this regard, there are many similarities with the Samsung Developer Conference. There were Smart Hub ( Project Brillo ), Samsung DirectLink (Android Auto), Samsung VR (Cardboard), etc.
    But the main difference is that only a few use Samsung’s technologies, and Google does create viable and successful ecosystems.

    I recently heard a local bike on this topic: before releasing a new technology, Google secretly hints at Samsung. Those happily clutch at it, dying at work, trying to get ahead of everyone and eventually give birth to something like Samsung Knox ...

    Next, Dobra Corporation looks at how successful this technology is, thanks Samsung for demonstrating how not to implement it in the end ends up with a pretty viable project ( Android for Work ).

    For a deeper immersion in technology, I liked the already mentioned Google Code labs stands.
    I also tried to write down at least the names of the main libraries that Google recommended using to solve specific problems. And more detailed technical information on most technologies related to Android is quite easy to find on the Internet when it is really needed.

    Another question - is it mandatory to get to the conference itself ?
    In my opinion, Google is trying not to create a particularly unique experience for its visitors, and therefore puts most of the seminars in public access on the YouTube channel I already mentioned.

    Previously, the gifts were really unique (which costs the Moto 360 sent to the house at a time when no one else in the world can buy them). But especially active people managed to sell them after the conference on Ebay and remain in the black. So this year, the unique Nexus 9 was donated, including so that people in the future did not plan to come to Google I / O for access to exclusive products or their successful resale.
    Perhaps these are the right steps on the part of the corporation of Good, which help to feel that all developers are important to it.

    So I'm not really upset if I watch “What's new in Android?” Next year through YouTube.

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