Google I/O 2013: Laying Down The Gauntlet Against The Competition [OPINION]

By Ural Garrett , Updated May 16, 2013 03:28 AM EDT
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Without even really mentioning those extremely high tech glasses, Google had a good showing today during its opening I/O keynote address. Google went head first into areas it already stepped its foot in while flat out overhauling other areas. All while making everything easy for hungry Android and Chrome developers. Here are my thoughts on todays announcements. 

Google Play All Access 

From the looks of it, Google Play All Access has everything going for it. It's everything that's awesome about Pandora and Spotify with a Google twist. Pandora feels almost psychic the way it understands a user's musical taste but not being able to delete songs from a queue is a pain. Google Play All Access allows users to not only swipe songs they don't like but add those they do to their own playlist. Those who want a more Spotify experience can just create their own playlist with hundreds of thousands of songs at will.  The potential of Google Play All Access can give users an unprecedented level of musical choice.  All for the low price of $9.99 per month? 

Google Play Games Services

One of the most original console like experiences for mobiles comes in the form of MADFINGER Game's first-person-shooter Dead Trigger. The game just begs for a multi-player and Google Play Game Service could be the thing that makes that happen. Hopefully, multiplayer will work better than it did at the keynote address.  Achievements don't hold the same weight they did five years ago but leaderboards across Google+ may destroy friendships. 

Google+ Updates

Google+ just may take me away from Twitter. The Photo feature is a nice addition for hipsters who spam Instagram filters. Being a photographer myself, it's never going to be as powerful as Photoshop(or even Gimp) but it works for those who just want to capture the moment the best way they can. Turning Hangouts into its own app was a smart move from Google considering that many people have separate friends list for similar services like Skype and Facetime. 

Google Maps 

Google Maps will be rebuilt from the ground up and more personalized. Tracking a user's tastes and highlighting places frequently visited. If visiting another state, Google will use previous info to recommend places to visit. Activity recognition makes navigation less cumbersome when transitioning between walking and riding a car or bike. Google's new location provider API will soon be faster, more precise and use less than one percent of battery power per hour most importantly. Google Earth will be incorporated into the online version of Google Maps also. 

Small things that caught my eye 

Synchronized notifications means that messages shown on one device won't show up on the other. It sounds like a more robust way of how emails from Gmail show up opened on the desktop if seen already on mobile devices and that means less of a hassle. Uploaded photos and videos on websites will take a lot less space thanks to Google's WebP image file and VP9 video codec. 

Chrome can synchronize billing information on all devices making shopping from mobile device much simpler. Speaking of Chrome, it will allow multiple screen multiplayer across every version of chrome wirelessly. To demonstrate, they demoed a slot car game called Racer. It worked better than that Riptide GP 2 demo.

Google's Education initiative could potentially change school systems across the U.S. if implemented correctly.

Lets hope Google gives more information on Glass app development Thursday.

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