New York Tech Journal
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Review of Google I/O 2015

Posted on June 26th, 2015


06/24/2015 @Google, Chelsea Market, 9th & 15th St, NY

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Speakers presented their impressions of the #Google I/O meeting that was held in San Francisco, May 28 to 29.

First, Nitya Narasimhan gave a rapid overview of the directions of Google’s research over the past year. These initiatives include

  1. Advanced Tech and Products (ATAP)
  2. Chrome browser update
  3. Polymer & web components
  4. Cardboard
  5. Internet of Things
  6. ATAP – advanced tech & products included
  7. Jacquard – Use fabric as a touch sensor
  8. Ara – modular smart phone- with hot swapable components
  9. Soli – use radar for gestural interactions – interactive interfaces can be on anything
  10. Abacus- replace passwords with a series of gestures and your unique actions
  11. Vault- security archive
  12. Tango – indoor location sensing
  13. Chrome browser update – focus on R.A.I.L. performance standards (click here for a full presentation or Paul Irish’s keynote) which are performance goals to improve the UI. Other things to improve the user experience
  1. Polymer & modern web APIs. (web components) :
  2. you can create custom HTML tags
  3. you can export HTML components to other HTML files
  4. templates to create Polymer elements
  5. shady DOM – faster than shadow DOM but less capable – for older browsers

Polymer has families of custom components that make it easier to create custom HTML tags

  1. Iron- web components
  2. Material design
  3. Go web – Google services
  4. Platinum
  5. Gold targets ecommerce

Polymer starter kit is available with app templates

Material design is now available for both web and mobile.

  1. Cardboard VR
  2. Cardboard 2.0 now available for iPhone.
  3. Can handle bigger phones and the device is easier to assemble
  4. Expeditions is an initiative to create content for cardboard for education.
  5. Jump – a goPro hardware setup which captures a 360 degree view with software to stitch it together. Output to cardboard and Youtube.
  6. SDK for cardboard- example includes a walkthrough for building with Unity.
  7. Design- designing for virtual reality – see the online demo – see cardboard design lab for guidelines
  8. Tango – 3d motion tracking and depth scanning

5.Internet of Things

  1. Nest – thermostat
  2. Thread group – industry consortium looking to standardize a web and communication links between objects
  3. Brillo – smallest version of Android OS to run on almost anything – a tool for building with Brillo is expected out soon
  4. Weave is the messaging system
  5. Speech and neural networks

Next, Dario Laverde covered Android M, the upcoming version of the OS. It’s also called MNC, short for ‘Macadamia Nut Cookie’ and has an expected release date in the 3rd quarter

  1. Google Now can be done from any app. This means one can ask for the lead singer of a song as an app is playing that song
  2. App permissions : at run time you are prompted if you want to access camera, etc. – similar to that on the iPhone. Developers need to check their apps on the emulator to see if this affects older apps. Can also view permissions by app or by capability (e.g. camera).
  3. Voice Interactor allows for confirmation of actions by voice
  4. Fingerprints for authentication
  5. Android backup – backups up all data by default
  6. Google Play Services 7.5 – one can build deep links to features within your app.
  7. Can Cast the screen image to a remote display;
  8. Smart lock so passwords entered on one device do not required repeated password entries across web and mobile devices
  9. new exercise types added to types in Google Fit database
  10. untouched devices causes apps to become “inactive”. However, developers can whitelist an app so it does not go to sleep;
  11. Android design support library: notification icon can now be a resource id or a bitmap (not just jpg and png files)
  12. new version of Android Studio including real time step-by-step debugging in C++ in Android NDK
  13. Styluses are now supported on tablets
  14. Tools: Systrace is a tool to locate problems. Also new compiler optimization
  15. External storage such as USB device supported by adb
  16. Graphics – separate TORCH light from the camera controls
  17. Audio – midi interface

Other developments related to Android include

  1. New Android Developer Guide
  2. Android wear now allows maps to be displayed on a watch face see Github/googlemaps…
  3. Project Tango
  4. Tango tablet contains the sensors for motion tracking, area learning and depth perception.
  5. Google announced 3 Contests to build Tango-powered apps in utility, VR or entertainment
  6. Tablet sells for $512

The third speaker, Ralph Yoozo spoke about Firebase, an online, real time database. Firebase is easy to setup since it requires no server side code to set up security. It can receive data using web sockets or virtual infinite web pages. He has built two applications using Firebase

  1. A web page to show runners their times (adjusted for their start time) as they crossed the finish line
  2. The bills in discussion in the NY state senate: see s

Ralph also noted

  1. Firebase is open so everyone can read and write to it, but this can be adjusted
  2. Can run a curl command form the command line to test the app
  3. Have a simulator page to debug the code

Ralph also briefly talked about Universal Second Factor which promises to offer better security than just a password. It is a small device (can attach to key chain) that provides a second layer of security in addition to your password. It uses a FIDO protocol.

The meeting was concluded by two brief talks

In the first, Howard Goldstein@NYTimes talked about Smart Lock, which integrates Chrome’s password manager so it extends to Android. Howard said it was very easy for the New York Times to integrate Smart Lock into their applications

  1. Needs Google APIClient
  2. Request credentials (the password)
  3. If succeed, can auto-login
  4. If fail, some credentials may not have passwords
  5. If fail, might have multiple accounts on the device – have the user select an account
  6. Can push credentials to Google so user does not need to enter them again

The second brief talk was by Anna Yan, a first timer’s visit to I/O. She spoke about the two devices demonstrated:

  1. Exiii makes robotic arms costing $200 They capture motions to an android phone and can be customizable using 3d printed
  2. Neosensory maps sound patterns to different locations on a vest making use of the sense of touch. The vest can be used as a sensory substitution for the deaf or in extremely noisy environments.

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