Google announced a flurry of new services and updates to existing services at their I/O Conference in San Francisco. There were a steady stream of new products and enhancements to established services, so much so at times it was like trying to get a drink of water out of a fire hose.
For developers Google announced three new APIs, all of which will supply big improvements in battery usage. The fused location provider will supposedly use only 1 percent of the battery power used by older APIs. Along with that will be the Geofencing API, which tracks user location changes and activity recognition which can tell if a user is driving, walking or biking.
Whatever you’re doing you’ll be able to tap into Google’s new All Access streaming music service. Sign up now and get a free month and only $7.99 a month if sign up before June 30th, after that it will be $9.99 a month. Google says its service will make it easy to find and organize the type of music you like and with everything that Google knows about you that might be more frighteningly accurate than you would imagine.
Google Maps is getting a raft of new features that will make it easier to explore the world around you while keeping track of traffic, mass transit schedules and the fastest route to your favorite places to eat. Map enhancements will include 3D views, integration with Google Earth and…don’t ask me how they’re doing this…real-time rendering of cloud cover around the globe.
Google is touting the cross-platform theme for all their services and gaming APIs, one of the reasons I believe they’ll ultimately survive to take over the world from Apple and Microsoft. Users just don’t care about operating systems anymore, but developers do. Being able to build for all platforms against a single set of APIs is a very big advantage for Google. Cross platform and single sign-on for a variety of services is convenient for users and, if it’s one thing I’ve learned about technology over the years, always bet on convenience.
It remains to be seen if updates to Google+ will make that application any less of a muddled mess, but I’m not hopeful. HangOut keeps getting better and stands to become a serious competitor for Skype, TeamViewer and other group sharing apps, able to support multi-user video conference calls right out of the box.
With a continued emphasis on open development and small, quick apps, Google is like a digital candy store that keeps cranking out the gummy bears. If Apple and Microsoft don’t come up with a competitive strategy to co-opt developers and package services for users, it’s going to be a long, slow slide to obscurity for both of them.