Google I/O 2011 Highlights

Highlights at this year’s Google extravaganza from the Ascentive team.   Held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco announced a ton of interesting tech developments on the horizon.  Here are a few of our favorites:

The Chromebook

Google first announced their nondescript Cr-48 Chrome OS Notebook back in December of 2010 but the production version, now called Chromebook, was just announced at Google I/O 2011. The idea is the same as the original in that it’s basically a barebones computer that runs Google Chrome OS. In many ways the philosophy is a lot like Apple’s iPad in that the hardware takes a backseat to the user experience. Google is selling a Chrome interaction platform, not a traditional notebook. The Chromebook features built-in security, “all day battery”, and multiple connectivity methods that keep the hardware always connected. The production version now sports an unnamed Intel dual core CPU that should give it a much more polished feel than the CR-48 pilot program. External file storage now works, and unlike on the Cr-48, users can plug in a camera or SD card and the Chromebook will mount it automatically. The connectivity of Chromebooks allows users to always have access to their personal cloud. The file manager works in the browser like another tab, but features most modern file manager features, like specifying default apps for certain file types.


Fully offline Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs

With the launch of Chromebooks this summer, will release Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Docs with offline access. Google’s Sundar Pichai revealed at the conference that Google has internally been using offline versions of their three most popular apps for months now. In addition to this move, Google is no longer supporting Google Gears as Chrome gains many of the same features via HTML5. Pichai also noted that there are already hundreds of apps in the Chrome Web Store with offline access. And that includes almost every game in the store. This, on top of the built-in 3G connectivity is all vital to ensure the vitality of Chromebooks, Pichai noted.


Chrome Web Store goes International, 5% Flat Fee

The Chrome Web Store is going international to all of Chrome’s 160 Million users over the web, available in 41 languages around the world. In addition to this, there will be a 5 percent flat fee to use these app within Chrome, with developers keeping 95% of revenue.

Android Market Overhaul

The web version of Android Market now features a dozen new lists that showcase various applications, including ‘Trending’ and ‘Top Grossing’ lists. Android Market will start suggesting apps based on your previous downloads, and the Android team is taking a more active role in flagging the best apps. The client version of Market on Android devices is also getting an update that will include many new discovery features.


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