When Steve Jobs was at their helm, Apple developer conferences were always the biggest show of the year for most developers, but since his passing many have started looking toward the Google I/O conference for innovative milestones. The 2015 conference is turning out to be filled up important announcements and a shift away from Apps… so here is a primer on the things you might want to keep on eye on as you move your own sites forward.
Android M will be replacing Google Lollipop and it brings some important upgrades. For example, Chrome will now be in all your Apps, the new software allegedly improves battery life and has USB-C support, Google Now is also on Tap to make it even more accessible, there is a new Google Photos app with free online storage and the company is continuing its crusade to bring developing countries online by adding offline maps and chrome to its platforms.
This comes at a time when Google is also investing heavily in home automation with Nest, Brillo and Weave creating a new layer of connectivity for developers to build tools that help manage all of your lights, temperatures, locks and more via secure WiFi or Bluetooth connections.
However, pundits are most interested in the way Google seems to be shifting its direction away from individual apps and back toward the web. So much of the conference centers on the improvements being made to Google Now. A system that essentially cannibalizes the data from individual apps you would normally want to open and pushes that same data into web based features that you are already using already. As an example, why would you open up and app to find the nearest open gas station if Google Now can seamlessly include that information when you want to know it? Google has invested heavily in creating an engine that can determine what you want, when and where you want it so it can predictively present data that you need right now… without having you go and get it yourself.
Of course that opens the Pandora’s box of debates about whether Google is doing this to help its app creating partners or to steal their work and use it as its own content for the purpose of driving more traffic to its own web-based ubiquitous ads. From a consumer perspective, a web that brings you information without making you find it may sound like a great thing… but for the people creating that data and having it presented in other ways by Google without much in the way of shared monetization… it may be a sign of hard times to come – especially if Google manages to keep people on the web where it is so dominant and away from the independent apps many companies are now creating as stand-alone products.