I’ve attended Google I/O, Google’s annual developer conference, for the last 4 years in a row. I/O 2017 was hands down the best of them all. The biggest reason for saying that is not because of new products and features, but because we saw Google take big strides towards listening to and embracing the developer and user communities. This was apparent not only in the operation of the conference, but also in the direction Google is taking in many of its products, platforms, and services.
As both an Android developer and user of Google products and services, here are some of my favorite announcements.
- Kotlin Support
- Android developers have been begging for an improved way to develop apps. Google has answered that call by announcing official support for the Kotlin language. Kotlin brings a modern, pragmatic, and concise approach to writing code, and will make for a more satisfying and efficient experience for developers.
- Android Architecture Components
- For years, Google didn’t provide much guidance for complex app architecture beyond a collection of samples. It definitely didn’t voice a strong opinion about which type of architecture would be best for app development. Android now offers a collection of libraries that help you design robust, testable, and maintainable apps.
- Google Play Updates
- Google Play has been (or will be) updated with lots of neat features, but my favorites are the new ways to track your app’s performance and crash rates and the support for helping secure release management.
- Google Lens
- Google Home Improvements
- I wasn’t interested in buying a Google Home after it was announced last year at I/O 2016, not even after it gained a few more skills through software updates. But with the addition of hands-free calling & visual responses, this has changed my mind.
- Google Photos Sharing
- My family and I are big fans and users of Google Photos since launch, but one pain point my wife and I have had is being able share all photos we take, regardless of which device it was taken on. My solution was to place my Google account on my wife’s phone, so that we have a central account where all photos are uploaded. Google has finally solved this problem for me with the announcement of Shared Libraries.
- Instant Apps
- The announcement of Instant Apps is nothing new. But the technology was not ready for all developers when it was first announced. Google has finally opened access so that anyone can build and publish an instant app.
While many of the announcements Google made at their annual developer conference might not have been exciting to consumers and may not have wowed the press, they excited me and many others I know. I’m looking forward to seeing the future Google creates.