Google IO Extended 2011

Since not all of us can go to Google IO, this year there was a local option, Google IO Extended. We held events on both days of Google IO in the Google offices in Dublin.

The first day, May 9th, we focussed on the Android stream, kicking it off with the keynote. The consensus was that there was nothing surprising in there. The tech that people seemed most excited about was Android @ Home, and the Arduino kit for Android accessories. The new software announcements were either not out yet or not available outside the US so that was a bit of a let down. That didn’t stop a number of us trying to get around those restrictions though! A few of us are now waiting on Google Music beta invites!

When Honeycomb was being talked about, we had one or two Honeycomb tablets in the audience thanks to our attendees, it made for a nice mix of seeing the highlights and playing with them while they were being talked about – it’s much easier to take in why some tech is great when it’s in your hands rather than just being talked about.

After Honeycomb Highlights we got some pizza, which we had way too much of! Then onto more IO with Android Protips. There was some great information in this talk if you are building native apps for Android and to keep them using best practice.

We ended early on the first day, wrapping up after this, around 9:00, sending people off with spare pizzas. There was still lots of chat and some feedback. Feedback for Google: when showing demos put them on the livestreams. Several times in talks the presenters were talking about demos and the demo wasn’t on the live stream so we didn’t know what was going on.

For the second day we focussed on the Chrome stream, and there was a strong response with that material – there was definitely more chat about the usefulness of this information and how it could be put into practice right now over the Android information the previous day.

On Chromebook, almost everyone I spoke to agreed that this was the first time they could see a reason for a Chromebook, Google made a compelling case in the Keynote. There was also some positive rabble when Angry Birds was announced for Google Chrome webstore!

Pizza was earlier on the second day, we had started to fade too early on the first day!

The demonstration of the audio analysis and visual effects with HTML5 had everyone impressed, that’s from the HTML5 wow talk. There was plenty of great demos in that talk in general, I was certainly taking some notes!

Moving onto Mobile Web Development, from Zero to Hero there was some great advice on how to build a web app to cater for lots of different devices. This is definitely something that Google needs to focus on. Their greatest strength with Android, the diversity, is also the biggest weakness, and this talk got across a number of approaches to help deal with these issues.

Finally we watched HTML5 & What’s Next, I was getting tired, so I didn’t see too much of this one! There was people who specifically wanted to see it though, if you learned something from it, let us know in the comments!

Between every session we would break out and chat – often not about Google IO talks we had just seen! Everybody present wanted a tablet and/or a Chromebook, unfortunately Google didn’t send them out to any of these events, but Sean will have got both at Google IO and I’m sure he’ll bring them along to the next meeting.

In summary, it was a great two days, definitely worth doing and worth doing again next year. I think it showed how useful having a break between sessions can be to chat with everybody, I think maybe having a slightly longer break at GTUG events in general might produce something similar.


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