Another week, another enormously important tech event. This week, it's Google's I/O 2012, and this Google event comes with some added pressure to live up to the standards set by competitors.
See, two weeks ago, Apple held its WWDC event and subsequently wowed the tech world with the Retina MacBook Pro and some spiffy new features in iOS 6. Last week, Microsoft earned high praise for two events -- the flashy premiere of the sleek Surface tablet and its low-key Windows Phone 8 unveiling.
Given those impressive antecedents, you can see why there's extra pressure on Google to have a successful day.
Can Google match the excitement and sense of optimism generated by Apple and Microsoft in the weeks prior? What will Larry Page and Sergey Brin's behemoth unveil at the Wednesday keynote address (which you can view live by clicking right here, or watching the video embedded at the top of this post, starting at 12:30 p.m. ET!) to wow the tech world and inspire developers to write for Android?
We've heard talk of a $199, 7-inch Nexus tablet that could compete with the Kindle Fire; we might also see Android 4.1 "Jelly Bean," the next iteration of the Android operating system and the logical successor to Ice Cream Sandwich. What features might we see in this Jelly Bean that can rival the dazzle of Maps and Siri in iOS 6, or the redesigned home screen and all-important "shared core" in Windows Phone 8?
We'll be live-blogging, and insta-analyzing, all the news that comes out of the Google I/O keynote, starting at 12:30. Check below for updates.
After a brief video showing how the whole Project Glass-parachute thing went down, we're done! Thanks for following along. We got a new tablet, a new Android operating system, and a spherical media streamer. Oh, and a detailed demonstration of Google Glass, and a better idea of when we might be able to purchase some (uh, next year. Maybe).
What did everyone think? Success or face-plant?
Perks! Why am I not at this thing? I love free stuff.
(Still waiting on that bottle of tequila, Google+).
Sergey really did interrupt Gundotra's presentation -- wasn't a pre-scripted stunt. He just ran out when the skydivers were ready to jump.
This is a, uh, anti-climax to say the least. Google+ is hosting an after-hours party that will be the first official Google+ event, featuring Paul Oakenfold and, uh, Train performing. I'll be glued to my computer, to watch a Hangout of a Train performance on Google+.
Larry Page says that developers should have "a healthy disrespect for the impossible," which sums up Google Glasses, doesn't it? Pretty turn of phrase.
Google is opening up pre-orders for Glasses for developers who want to work on the project. Only available at Google I/O, for U.S.-based attendees; only accepting orders at the conference. Sorry, live-stream watchers.
Price is $1500, to be shipped early next year. So, won't be releasing for consumers imminently.
Did you see that baby? That was a cute baby.
The next step for Project Glass? Figuring out how to add visual search -- searching for information based on what you're looking at, at that very moment, in other words.
That would certainly make the Glasses very valuable, no?
And now we're watching a cute baby video. This baby is really, really cute -- as are the pictures you can take with Google Glasses. This is Google at its very best: tugging at the heartstrings.
Farhad Manjoo predicts we'll get over the weirdness of wearing computers eventually:
|@ fmanjoo : You guys who makes fun of Google Glass for being too geeky -- have you heard about smartphones?|
A few notable claims:- Weigh less than some models of sunglasses. - Decided to put all of the technology on one side, so that it would get out of your way. - Design isn't finished yet, but want to make the final device as inconspicuous as possible (good luck with that)
- Designed to capture fleeting moments, from your point-of-view, instantly (which you can't do if you're taking out a smartphone or camera, natch).
Yeah, I'm quoting myself, get over it.
|@ gilbertjasono : Google Glass, a product that Google won't be releasing for some time, totally upstaging every real product they've introduced so far.|
Sergey Brin is talking about his baby, Project Glass.
Now a Project Glass project lead is explaining the Google Glass prototype. Glass has a display, a still and video camera, a touchpad on the side, a "pretty powerful" processor, a microphone, a small speaker for the wearer, gyroscopes, accelerometers, a compass, and "multiple radios for digital communication".
This is the most information we've gotten about Google Glass since it launched via viral video a few months ago.
I concur with Nick Bilton of the New York Times:
|@ nickbilton : That might be the coolest product demo I've ever seen. Skydivers land on roof of Moscone wearing Google Glass while talking to Sergey Brin.|
I am happy to report that all of these skydivers landed safely on the roof of the Moscone West center, where the Google I/O event is being held.
It's as though Sergey Brin sensed how boring the part about Google+ was and then rushed onstage with the promise of skydiving and Google Glasses to pump up the crowd.
It's working. This is one of the most insane things I've ever seen at a tech demo. We're now watching someone plummet toward earth, through the camera on their Google Glasses.
The parachutes are open, and they're coming down toward the city. Wild.
He's wearing Google's Glasses
and shooting lasers at the audience demoing Project Glass! We are about to watch a bunch of people wearing Google Glasses go skydiving, from the POV of the Glasses-wearers.
Preparing to pee my pants.
Via Engadget, stoke those patriotic flames, Google:
|@ engadget : Google Nexus Q is 'Designed and Manufactured in the U.S.A.' - http://t.co/GwoDmelH|
This is kind of cool. For Google+ events, anyone who was invited to the party who has "Party Mode" enabled will have any photos they take during the party automatically uploaded to the events page.
Frankly, when the weekend comes, I ALWAYS have "party mode" on, if you know what I mean.
Vic Gundotra trotting out some stats about how many people are using Google+: every day, for hours, non-stop on mobile.
Now, Gundotra is announcing Google+ for tablets -- for the Nexus 7 and from whatever the tablet that Apple makes is called.
Gundotra calls the design of the Google+ app "not just prominent, but playful," which is exactly how I like to think of myself.
Hangouts look great on Google+ app for tablet, says Gundotra, and now a bunch of shell-shocked people are putting on digital hats and eyepatches on the big screen. The Google+ tablet app also automatically switches video based on who's talking, just like on the website. It does look good and will surely be a huge release for those who actually use Google+.
Rolls out for Android today, available for the iPad very soon.
BUT WAIT THERE'S MORE: Android smartphones will also see this as an update, starting today.
And, OH MY GOD, there's even more about Google+ still coming! Google+ now has an Events page, which will "make all of life's events more awesome, before during, and after...your next party." Are they offering free tequila? Alas, no. Beautiful invitations, event pages, calendar integration, etc.
No free tequila, though. If Google could somehow figure out a way to deliver free tequila to my apartment, I would definitely consider inviting my friends using Google+. Listen up, Vic Gundotra.
It's Google+'s first birthday! Who got cake? Will Google be sending me cake? Google, send me cake.
Google's social network is, uh, struggling. It's been called a ghost town, dead, and worse. Hangouts are cool though, says this Google promotional video! Actually, Hangouts are true, and the one truly great feature of Google+, even if they haven't convinced many people to use it every day.
GigaOM thinks so:
|@ gigaom : With Google Now, Google search is getting ready for Project Glass http://t.co/mRJbSKcC|
Nexus Q goes on sale for $299, will ship in mid-July (perhaps along with your Nexus 7 tablet).
Hugo Barra comes back out to wrap things up, hair still looks great.
Google is introducing a whole new product that's NOT a tablet. It's "the Nexus Q," a small Android-powered computer that connects to your media stored in the cloud. It's a small, blackish orb with a neon light strip that can wirelessly stream your content from your Google Play locker to your speakers and your television in 1080p. You can control what's being played through your smartphone or tablet.
A ring of LEDs around the perimeter of the orb lights up and syncs with your music. Anyone with an Android device can control the music queue and the music can be streamed in multiple rooms in your home.
Tech website The Verge has hands-on photos with the Nexus 7 Tablet:
|@ verge : Asus Nexus 7 tablet hands-on http://t.co/rbeYPIWf|
Hugo Barra, whose hair is really shining and looking wonderful, is available for $199. It comes with Transformers: Dark Of The Moon, the book "The Bourne Dominion," and a $25 gift card at the Google Play Store.
Orders will ship in mid-July.
Google Chrome will be the standard browser on the Nexus 7, making it the first device to have Chrome as its stock browser.
The Maps app gets "Compass Mode" with gyroscope support, which lets you pan around inside a location naturally. The Maps app will also be available offline, as announced at an event a few weeks ago.
Google Currents -- Google's Zite or Flipboard competitor -- comes standard. Currents will also be able to automatically translate content in news articles to several languages (using, of course, Google Translate).
Also showing off games called "Horn" and "Dead Trigger," a first person zombie shooter.
TechCrunch has all the details on Google Now.
|@ TechCrunch : Google Now: Real-Time Notifications For Android http://t.co/Jh7huuiU by @anthonyha|
Hugo Barra, whose hair still looks great, announces the 7-inch Nexus 7 Tablet, made in conjunction with Asus, which probably isn't pronounced like you think it is. (Uh-SEUSS)
Here's your specs, specs-hounds:
- - 1280x800 HD display (Kindle Fire is 1024 x 600)
- - Tegra 3 quad-core CPU chipset and twelve-core GPU
- - Front-facing camera
- - Wi-Fi, Bluetooth & NFC
- - Up to 9 hours of video playback, and up to 300 hours of standby time
- - Weighs 340 grams (Kindle Fire is about 415 grams)
- - Android Jelly Bean 4.1 (duh)
Google has posted an official introduction to Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. You can read it, and check out all the new features, here.
Headline says it all. Important update to make the Google Play store more fully-fledged, as TV shows and magazines join books, movies, and music.