In an age where technological advancement occurs at lightning-speed, it is only appropriate that distinctive developments be given a global spotlight. Google I/O 2012 is such a spotlight, and JWT New York tuned in to the Keynote to learn about new advancements in Google products.
On Wednesday, JWT New York was among the one million viewers of the 5th Google I/O Keynote, which took place in San Francisco and was streamed via YouTube. Though developers tend to frequent this event, the Keynote elicits a good deal of excitement for technology users everywhere. In the JWT Café, everyone grabbed a slice of pizza and settled in, enthusiastic to see what new concepts Google was about to offer the world.
Google appears to be taking strides to redefine the user experience, as evidenced by the Keynote announcements regarding a new and improved Android, a Google Play-integrated Nexus 7, the all-new Nexus Q, and Google Glass. What’s immediately striking is Google’s vision that its products fit seamlessly into our lives. The new Jellybean platform in Android and the creation of Project Butter, for example, are methods to create a smoother, faster interaction between user and device. In the new Android, animation is smoother. Widgets resize to fit well into your screen. Google Now, designed to give you “the right info at the right time”, will learn from your routine to give you accurate information about your commute time, flights, and surroundings just when you need it. Voice recognition has greatly improved and responds to even the most basic searches – one word will yield all types of pertinent information. JWT seemed rather impressed, and we caught one or two employees testing how Jelly Bean compares to voice recognition on their smart phones.
Next, Hugo Barra, the Director of Android Product Management, announced the Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet equipped for Google Play sporting Jelly Bean and Android 4.1 and created in partnership with Asus. Again, the focus was on how this new Nexus 7 will uniquely enrich the user experience; with a better battery life and various adjustments, this tablet fits neatly into the palm of your hand. The killer, though? The price. At $199, the Nexus 7 is tantalizingly affordable.
With the dramatic flair now so characteristic of the tech world, Google kept its big unveil, the Nexus Q, under a sheet on a pedestal throughout the Keynote. Bringing it out, Google members Joe Britt and Mat Hershens explained that this Android power computer, designed to “live in your home”, aims to become the prime social streaming device on the market by allowing any friends with an Android to take part in music, TV, and gaming selection. Though beautiful and unique, the full potential of the Nexus Q is yet to be determined. The dependence on the device on Google Play, for example, might be a long-term hindrance; what happens when we want to watch Hulu or Netflix?
The Keynote began to wind down with something rather familiar, Google+. After describing the successes that the social media platform has had this year, Google announced Google+ Events. Paired with visually appealing invites, Google+ Events integrate into Google Calendar and feature real-time photo sharing. Another way for Google to fit neatly into your every day routine.
Full of surprises, Google had one final high-energy treat for its audience: an action-packed demonstration of Google Glass, a product created “so that you can interact with the virtual world without distracting from the real world”. I was impressed with the caliber of the stunts we watched through Google Glass. The incentive behind using Glass is the ability to capture moments instantaneously and naturally, transposing first person narrative to photography and video.
I enjoyed the Google I/O 2012 Keynote viewing party on Wednesday, which served to remind us of the force of Google, a brand with a distinctive identity that continues to explore the new challenges it creates for itself. It will be interesting to see these new products roll out in the next few months – I know I’m excited to see Android voice recognition and Siri battle it out for the first time.
– Jayshree is an Intern in the Corporate Communications Department at JWT New York.