Google I/O 2013 Extended: Pittsburgh

Last year I attended “Google I/O Extended: Pittsburgh” for the first time. This year, I decided to attend again.

I was shocked by some aspects of my experience.

Format changes from last year

I was disappointed that there were no live sessions being held this year; in place of that, there were some live demos and the opportunity to play “Ship Wars”.

I was not interested in the game, and ignored it.

I stopped by the demo stations but did not find them very interesting or useful.

Since I already got the tour last year, I had no need to go on a tour again.

Keynote at noon, streaming

The keynote had multiple speakers, and lasted three hours!!

Philosophical stuff

One of the speakers mentioned how dramatically the world had changed in just seven years, and showed an event for the Pope in 2005 and in 2013, and you could see a sea of phones held up by people in 2013. I found this horrifically depressing, actually, not something to celebrate. But Google is “working very hard to continue this journey forward” to “make a difference in people’s lives”.

There was a photo of a baby, and someone holding a phone to the baby’s head.

Tech stuff

OK, back to technical matters.

Regarding Android, “activity recognition”. Yeah, I want my phone to know more and more about what I’m doing.

Android Studio, a new IDE for Android development, based on IntelliJ IDEA, was announced.

There was a lot of talk about Google+ (which I barely use).

A lot of talk about music services, “radio without rules” (I don’t use any music services).

An obsession with images and automatically finding a “best image” for you, and zooming in on flaws in personal photos, etc. Brave New World, anyone? I don’t manipulate any of the photos I take for my own use.

“Ask Google”. I resisted the temptation to shout out “inappropriate” questions.

Google Maps, and the incorporation of information submitted by friends.

I am now seeing the full scale of what Google is trying to do to transform our once private spaces.

Larry Page

It’s hard for me to summarize what Larry Page said, because it was so radical and so self-assured, a philosophical vision about the primacy and “positivity” of technology. He uses Google Glass with his children.

It was one of the creepiest speeches I have heard in my life from someone with power and determined to use that power. I respect that he went all out, nothing held back, in all honesty. I am simply not as optimistic that every advance of technology into our lives is a positive one, and I think things are moving very fast.

Here’s a transcript I found online of Larry Page’s speech.

After the keynote

I was shell-shocked after the keynote, and although I stopped by one of the streaming presentations, I didn’t get much out of it, and then I decided to just go home.


Sitting through the long keynote was well worth it, as far as improving my understanding of what Google is about and what it has done and what it wants to do. I have real concerns about the direction that Google and its leaders wants to take the world.

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