Here's what went down.
The conference gave us a chance to see firsthand Google’s latest news and upcoming releases. Technologies like touch sensitive fabric, machine learning, and contextual search gave hints of what computing will start to look like in the near future. Besides the excitement of attending live what most people stream, the conference also served some practical value for our everyday work.
First, as a design and dev shop that frequently works with Google teams it was beneficial to get a holistic view of the company’s vision. I/O is Google’s opportunity to engage with its legions of developers and ambassadors, setting the course for how they want to evolve in the next year. One key insight was the focus on approachability. At a time when others are focused on computing in solid gold, Google’s most highlighted physical medium is cardboard. A significant portion of the keynote was used to highlight how Android would help bring the next billion people online. There was also a station for VR based nerf gun games and a physical playground in the middle of the convention center. Google’s goal is accessible technology that delights the user and is, in a word, fun. For us that opens the door to some killer interactive experiences.
Second, as arguably the most influential company in web technology today Google is pioneering the technologies that we work with all the time. Tools like Angular and Polymer are used as the frameworks for building our front-end web apps. Backend technologies like App Engine power a good number of our projects. The Chrome browser leads the way in implementing cutting edge web technologies and providing the tools build a better web.
At I/O we attended two talks led by Paul Irish and Paul Lewis about the performance methodology they’ve label RAIL (rendering, animation, idle, load). They discussed the critical time metrics that govern the perceived responsiveness of an application. Then they dove into Chrome DevTools’ latest features to give examples of how developers can measure JS performance, shredding ESPN.com’s responsive performance in the process.
Whether it was practical performance tips or more general insights around the company, Google I/O proved to be a valuable experience. We look forward to putting what we learned to use, building all of our future websites as cardboard optimized 3D VR experiences. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Our top 5 moments from Google I/O
Andy Clabaugh, Front-end Developer
- Projection mapping around the keynote room
- Talks on front end performance metrics
- Unlimited free storage on Google Photos
- Offline Google Maps
- Polymer.js 1.0
Le Wei, Front-end Developer
- Project Soli
- Cardboard V2
- Project Tango demos by Johnny Lee
- Loving banter between Pauls Lewis and Irish
- Custom rug throughout Moscone
Phil Ruppanner, Founder/Creative Director
- Santa Tracker 2014 in Polymer
- Year 2 of Material Design and an updated Google Design site
- Project Jacquard
- Super Duper burger for lunch