Yesterday was a real action packed thrill ride of an event from Google. Along with the reveal that they apparently have a squad of elite extreme athletes prepared to invade a keynote at any moment, they also imparted a flood of new info on us and I’m going to endeavor to cover some of the spillover here.
Out of respect for the sheer ostentatiousness of the Glass presentation, I have to address that first. First of all if you somehow failed to watch it already then the video is below. Feel free to skip ahead a few minutes to their jumping out of the zeppelin (yes, you read that correctly).
So that happened, but what did we actually learn about Project Glass? Well the most exciting (and depressing) news for attendees of Google I/O is that they have a chance to pre-order a pair of the glasses that will be delivered to them early next year for the low price of $1,500. These will still be early prototypes and Brin went out of his way to stress that it won’t be ready for consumers at that time and that this pricing wasn’t reflective of what Google hopes to bring to retail by early 2014.
The Chrome Browser has finally had it’s beta tag revoked and is running free in the Play Store. If you were already using Chrome on your device there isn’t anything particularly new in this release other than improved stability — which is quite welcome — and performance enhancements. Some UI adjustments were made for tablets, not surprising considering the Nexus 7 will be running Chrome out of the box. Unfortunately no word on availability for anything prior to Android 4.0.
Google Play Books
The Play Books app saw some updates yesterday which caught it up to the rest of the major players in my eyes. The most significant of these updates was support for embedded streaming video and audio in books which has been taking off of late, in particular for educational texts. One nice new UI touch is the ability to simply tap the upper-right corner of a page to bookmark it. New settings options allow for auto text-to-speech and the ability to lock downloads to WiFi only. The rest of the updates were improving support for various formats and other stability fixes.
Google Play Movies
The highlight for movies was definitely the fact that you can now actually purchase movies rather than just rent them and TV shows have been added to the Play Store as well. This was a critical step for Google if they are going to draw users away from the iBehemoth. Now if Google could just get a competitive subscription service together I could actually start living in Google’s universe most of the time.
Google Play Remote Features
We’ve been installing apps from Google Play for over a year now and I personally use it all the time so I was thrilled to find out that Google is now also giving us the ability to uninstall or update apps from the web as well. As an admitted app hoarder I think this will be a big help in quickly sorting through and tossing some of the crApps that I installed on a whim and just never got around to ejecting.
Hopefully that helped get you caught up on some things you may have missed from day one. Out of everything that was announced yesterday what got you the most excited?