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The Friday Debate: Google I/O - what are your impressions?

What do you make of this year's Google I/O? We've asked ourselves this question, and came up with some answers. Join us in the comments.
May 17, 2013

We are all mobile geeks, here at Android Authority. We love everything with a power button. We like to comment the latest news and endlessly argue over which phone is better. On the Friday Debate, we pick a hot issue and proceed to discuss it. Join us!

This week was Google I/O week, and naturally, in this Friday Debate we will discuss the new stuff that Google shown us at I/O, but also the stuff we didn’t get to see. Among the highlights: the Samsung Galaxy S4 Google Edition, a boatload of news about Glass, new Google Maps, some good stuff for developers, and a redesigned Google Plus (it was a big commotion out there). On the MIA list: the Nexus 7 2, the X Phone, Android 4.3.

So, what do you make of this year’s Google I/O? We’ve asked ourselves this question, and came up with some answers. Join us in the comments.

Robert Triggs

The highlight for me was probably the announcement of the Samsung Galaxy S4 “Google Edition”. Not because of the handset particularly, but because of what it could mean for the future of Nexus type devices.

Although not carrying a “Nexus” title, for all intents and purposes this Galaxy S4 is a Nexus device, as it will be receiving Android updates as promptly as possible. Which started me wondering, has this opened up the door for other manufactures to offer pure Android versions of their handsets, and if so, what does this mean for the fragmentation problem?

Whilst I don’t expect to see a ton of “Nexus” devices appearing any time soon, if this Galaxy S4 version manages to sell well, it poses an interesting conundrum for manufacturers; what will make them more money, Nexus devices with free updates or spending money trying to update their proprietary software?

Of course, no-one knows for certain what this new Galaxy S4 version means for Android yet, but there’s lots of interesting potential ahead.

Google-IO-2013 Hugo barra 9 1600 aa

Bogdan Bele

We may have not seen a new Nexus 7 or a new Android version, but all in all, users of Google products (not only Android) will feel that they have received a lot during Google I/O 2013.

My highlights start with Google Play Music All Access, which should be a success, provided Google rolls it out to many countries, in a timely manner.

Then, the new Hangouts provides a very good messaging experience and I’m also a big fan of the new Google+ interface. I don’t need to mention how eager I am to get my hands on the pure Android Samsung Galaxy S4, because that goes without saying…

All in all, even if we haven’t seen some of the things we expected, I think Google I/O 2013 has laid the groundwork for some great user experiences.

Derek Scott

I was lying in bed at 3 in the morning watching the keynote when Larry Page walked out. I layed there in utter awe at this amazing man. He was a real person, he wasn’t scared to state his opinion openly bashing Oracle and Microsoft.

He took random questions from anyone. He inspired me with his vision and belief in our future. In a world run by crooks it is comforting to know that at least there is this man helping to run basically the Internet. Larry Page inspired me and let me know that there are good people still in power.

Google-IO-2013 Larry Page 3 1600 aa

Adam Koueider

Google I/O is primarily a developers conference, so it goes without saying that the majority of the audience are developers.

The first hour of the conference meant nothing to a consumer, but to developers it’s big news. The new Android Studio, Cloud Messaging, improvements to Google Maps, these are great additions and will help attract more and more developers to Android, meaning better apps for us.

The big news was Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, or rather the lack of Android 4.3. Now I won’t lie and pretend I wasn’t expecting the new version of Android to be announced (In all honesty, I was baying for some Key Lime Pie action), but when we push away our greedy need for more sweets, we realise maybe it is too early for a new Android version.

Think about it, the only devices running Android 4.2 are the Nexus family, a handful of Asus tablets and the Galaxy S4. Even smartphones released this year, aren’t running the latest version of Android. So by delaying the release of Android 4.3, we can get a heap of devices (like the HTC One, GS3, Galaxy Note 2 etc) onto Android 4.2. Whether Android 4.3 comes out in July or later in the year (hopefully in the form of Key Lime Pie), we will be mind blown, so we need to go back to our seats and enjoy what we have already.

A major disappointment (at least for me), was the lack of an updated Nexus 7. Nexus 7 II, new Nexus 7, or (my personal favourite) Nexus 7 HD, whatever you want to call it, I was expecting an updated Nexus 7, especially since I broke my Nexus 7 two weeks ago (curse my buttery hands) and was looking to pick up the updated version. Maybe it just wasn’t ready, it’s obvious Google is going to make a new Nexus 7, so this is another example of patience my friends.

All in all, I think it’s been a brilliant I/O, possibly the best ever. The new Maps is gorgeous, Hangouts is brilliant, Play Games is awesome, Play Music got an update (FINALLY!) and the new Google Plus app is incredible. That’s without mentioning the stock Galaxy S4, which is big, big news for the Android community. Android is no longer in a development stage, it’s passed that, it’s in its refinement stage, and at Google I/O, Google is laying it’s cards facing up. So relax guys and gals, sit down, enjoy you’re popcorn (it’s got lots of butter), we’re in for a great ride.

Google-IO-2013 Darkroom Now vic gundotra 1600 aa

Bogdan Petrovan

As Derek said, the most impressive moment of the keynote was Larry Page’s speech and Q&A. For some reason, it resonated with me deeply. At the end of it, I went to G+ to proclaim my love for Google, with all the risk of ridicule. Larry’s presence and the entire keynote made me realize again how much I admire this company. As someone said yesterday (it was an article headline, I forgot by whom, sorry), Google’s products are just byproducts of its quest for tomorrow.

Watching the keynote, I felt that the people on stage are building the future. Amit Singhal teased the Star Trek Enterprise computer, and I have a strong feeling that Google is taking us in that direction. In my lifetime, I will interact with my computing device, regardless of what shape it will have, through natural conversation.

As for the lack of consumer products or Android 4.3, I wasn’t really disappointed. Google brought so much new stuff, it doesn’t matter that we don’t formally have a new Android version. Why are version numbers so important anyway? The new Nexus 7 will come, so Adam, don’t be disappointed. I think we’ll see it a couple of months, if the rumors are correct.

Overall, Google wanted to give I/O back to developers, and I think that was the right thing to do.

What did you like at Google I/O this year? What impressed you the most and what disappointed you?