With 2000 other developers we took part in the biggest Google Developer Day 2011, which took place in Berlin this last Saturday, 19th of November. First of all, we loved the offering of the local drink Club Mate. Think global, act local? Well, indeed. Parts of the Google Chrome browser are developed in the Google Munich office, and so this logo was famously displayed on various presentations. Even if the event was too crowed, the music in between the sessions was very Berlin electro like *big +1 for that* and the live beatboxing around the keynote session literaly kicked ass.
Our take aways from the keynote:
- Android popularity
- 8 billion Android apps installs to date
- 300k Android apps in the Android Market
- Later Andriod versions lead to MORE app installs
- Google App Engine
- Part of Google’s cloud services
- Nativly develop applications with Python, Java and Go that run on the infrastructure Goolge build up during their excessive growth over the last decade
- Use Google App Engine as the backend for connected (Android) apps
- New services like Google Cloud Storage (cloud HD), Google Prediction API (impressive machine learning), Google Big Query (cloud SQL, impressive example shown: querying and analysing the comments table of Wikipedia in seconds)
- Google Chrome
- Google puts a lot of emphasis on HTML5, Chrome is *the browser* for that, of course
- Interesting to see that Google is building an other Market place with the Chrome Web Store, which is opened for all platforms (!), and the transaction fees will be as low as only 5% (that is when I started triggering off an applause during the keynote for billing models like upfront payments, In-App payments, freemium models or subscription based models. In contrary, Android Market or Apple App Store take up to 35% of the selling price.
- The next version of HTML is gonna be huge, we all know that. Better get on the train now.
- Presented features: GPU accellerated graphics, SVG vector graphics to present data in an interactive and responsive way (e.g. statistics), CSS 3d transitions, new APIs, Audio and Video visualisiation that work together closely, ..
- The concept of Intents from Android (“an Intent is like a TODO for an other software component with a published interface definition) will be taken to the Web with WebIntents, which could help to get rid of all the functional buttons like “Share on Facebook, Twitter this, …” on websites
Following the keynote we participated in sessions about the new Google Places API, where Google was introducing the new concept of timeframed events that are bound to geographical places which are only visible to the owner of the event (e.g. your location based app). VERY interesting as a basis for check-in to local events apps indeed!
Sessions on exellence in app development for Android followed. It’s clear to see that the new concepts of Multi-pance layouts (Android Fragments) or the Action Bar are to be integrated in all future Android apps to let the framework take care of the complex task of managing different amounts of display real estate on Handsets and Tablets (both, in portrait and landscape mode). This is a complex task, the iPhone and iPad do not need to care about; there is only one iPhone and one iPad device from Apple whereas there are 20+ Android devices in all shapes and sizes from different manufactures that need to be handled. Also, in future Android apps one can’t rely on an exclusive “front door entry” to apps anymore (introduction of recent apps pane, “linking” between apps though Intents, etc.): The new software back key will have the function to “go back where I came from” whereas the up key will take the user to “the root/startscreen of the application”. “Beyond the list” is where a developer has to think when it comes to organisation and representation of collections of data on different devices: the app displays itself differently depending on display real estate (switching from list stlye to m.youtube.com thumb style in landscape mode, for example). Android developers should clearly check out the new concepts in the reference Google I/O app.
This saturday was clearly an “input day” so sessions about GAE (Google App Engine), Web Apps with HTML5, monetizing Web Apps and Google Apps and APIs followed.
Our conclusion: the heat is on! Google will continue to be one of the most important players in the mobile (app) field, besides Apple and Microsoft. We will stay up to date and offer our customers the best possible solutions for connected Android, iOS and Windows Mobile Apps.