My Google I/O Hopes and Predictions

Google I/O

With Google I/O less than two months away, speculation is rife on what Google will announce. This list is more of a wish list than statements of what I believe will happen. I believe most of what I’ve laid out below is possible, however as with any speculation it’s exactly that — speculation. I don’t have any insider information, just my own thoughts.

  1. Key Lime Pie. This is a given. The main question of everyone’s lips is Key Lime Pie features. Here’s a few things I’m thinking might be (and I hope will be) in Key Lime Pie:

    • Google Messaging. Rumours have been doing the rounds for quite some time now about Google finally consolidating their current messaging services into one, and I think Key Lime Pie is where it will debut. I think this service will be more than just an amalgamation of the existing services. I envisage it becoming more like an iMessage service, intertwining SMS into the service, replacing the default messaging app with this new, more advanced service. My main concern is whether they’ll bring this feature to previous versions of Android through the Play Store. I’m guessing yes, but it probably won’t replace the default messaging app, but instead either replace Google Talk, or be a completely separate app. I hope Google include an API in this new messaging app so that third party services can integrate into it. The idea of having all your messaging services aggregated into one interface seems like a killer feature, and hopefully Google see it in a similar light.

    • Google Now API. This seems kind of obvious. Google’s recent Glass event showed off a Google Now-like cards interface for apps. They also announced that there would be an API for apps to plug into it. A similar API for Google Now would be pretty sweet, as long as apps don’t abuse it. I’d imagine this may not actually be exclusively for Android, but instead will be a REST API, with a wrapper for Android to abstract this fact. Google Now is coming to Chrome, as shown in the latest Chromium builds, Glass may very will be based on Google Now itself rather than a Google Now-esque interface, and I can see Google adding Now to search on the web. So it makes sense that any data added, whether it be by an Android app or web app, be synced across all devices.

    • Bluetooth 4.0 APIs. Please for the love of god standardise Bluetooth 4.0 access. Especially Bluetooth Low Energy. Services like Fitbit and the upcoming Automatic would love this, and it would only help accelerate the growth of the internet of things.

    • App specific voice actions. This one is a long shot. It’s been rumoured before, and I wasn’t sure about it then, and I’m still not too sure about it now. What I’d like to see though is a mixture of two types of app voice actions — natural language actions, and Xbox 360 like contextual commands. I’m not going to go into anymore detail on my thoughts on this, because I’m not completely sold on the possibility yet.

  2. Google TV rebirth. Google TV has potential. I’m sure Google realise this, despite poor performance so far. While I’m not quite sure on specifics, I think Key Lime Pie will bring Google TV in line with the rest of the Android device form factors, and also introduce Google TV to AOSP for the first time.

  3. Android @ Home finally ready. It’s been nearly two years since Google first announced Android @ Home, an attempt to bring home automation to the masses through Android. It sounded like a dream to techies like myself. With someone as big as Google backing a protocol, and building the backbone, smart appliances would gain traction, and bring home living into the connected future. Unfortunately though, Android @ Home disappeared off the face of the earth after Google I/O. Recently though, new Android @ Home references cropped up in Android 4.2.2’s code, bringing with it speculation that Google would revive the promising technology at this year’s Google I/O. I think the time is right for such tech now, and Google would be foolish to not try get in to the market now.

  4. Nexus Q relaunch. Hopefully with a price drop, Google will announce a new revision the Nexus Q. It will come with Key Lime Pie-flavoured Google TV, a remote for standalone use, a new phone/tablet remote app, Miracast support for mirroring your Nexus 4 and other supported devices and lastly, and for some most importantly, mesh network support. Google talked about Project Tungsten back at Google I/O 2011, an Android @ Home hub that served as a music endpoint (which the existing Nexus Q already does) and a bridge to an Android @ Home mesh network. They even showed off a spherical prototype, which although white, could easily have been the precursor to the Nexus Q. Whether Google decide to keep the Nexus Q name or not remains to be seen, but this seems like a no brainer if Google want to bring Google TV and Android @ Home into people’s homes.

  5. Google Now for Chrome. It’s coming. There’s no doubt. Google will probably announce it officially and roll it out on the stable Chrome channel along with the new notification center.

  6. Android and Chrome OS convergence. I’m not expecting much on this, but I predict there will be an announcement of the intention to merge Android and Chrome OS into one. Along with this, there’d probably be some prototype demoes of Android apps running on Chrome OS on a Pixel, and Chrome packaged apps running on Android, with access to native APIs.

  7. Google Reader replacement. Maybe? I can imagine them bringing Google Currents to the web, but really nothing can replace Google Reader without essentially being a Google Reader clone. I’m also expecting some Google+ feature that shares little with Reader in terms of functionality.