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
- Google Play Updates
- Google Lens
- I recently had trouble coming up with the name of a favorite restaurant in Italy for a colleague that was going to visit. The photos I took didn’t help to narrow it down. Google Lens will be able to help by identifying data in my photos that helps recognize the restaurant.
- 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
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.