Google I/O 2013 Live Blog: Follow The News As It Happened

It’s that time of year, again! Google I/O is upon us. We were up early live blogging the keynote which kicked off at 2am (yikes!) this morning. So what’s the future of Android? Maps? Apps? Google+? Games? We’ve got it all here.!

So below you’ll see a call-out of all the news we have published out of Google I/O 2013 so far. There’s a lot to browse and enjoy. If you want to see how it all happened within this post in incredible detail, however, we have added sub-headings all the way down so you can scroll to what you want to read, without having to read the whole thing.


All The News:

New Google Maps Features Leak Ahead Of I/O

Google+ Does Some Amazing Things With Your Pictures Now

Did Google Just Try To Totally Change How Search Works?

New Google Hangouts App: Unified Chat, Unlimited Reach

Live Blog:

6:00pm, 15 May
Hello, there! We’ve got a live stream of the event up over here, if you like that sort of thing, too. What do you want to see out of Google I/O 2013?

2:00am, 16 May
Good morning, readers! Ready for some I/O goodness? I know we are. We’re ready and raring for our live blog which will kick off in minutes. Personally, I’m keen to see what Google will be doing with Glass!

The State Of Android

Ok. Here we go. Sundar Pichal, head of Google is up talking about the adoption of mobile devices.

He’s talking about just how much stuff has changed in three years, like that image of Pope farewells.

Interestingly, Sundar isn’t wearing Glass.

Sundar is chatting about Chrome and Android. Could we see a unification of the two?

“We’re working to build the best of Google…but what really excites us is what developers are doing…”

In 2011, there was 100 million activations of Android. We’re finding out through an awesome video where the activations are now. This number is likely to be massive.


Holy crap. 900 million activated Android devices as of 2013.


Here’s where the penetration of Android is less than 10 per cent. Those highlighted areas have 4.5 billion people in them. Sundar says that Google has a “long way to go” to reach 7 billion.

Hugo Barra is here!

Stats time! Google Play has 48 billion app installs (just behind iOS). Over the last four months, Android developers have scored more cash than all of last year. Revenue per user is 2.5x what it was a year ago globally.

New APIs, More Developer Tools

New developer tools coming says Hugo Barra.

Google Play Services are coming, which is new API access and access to tools that Google use to build their own apps. They’ll be updated and available to developers regardless of their Android version.

There’s an updated Google Maps API. Here’s what’s new for developers and what it means for users:

Fused Location Provider is a rewritten location algorithm so that location is faster to acquire, more accurate and a low-power location mode that uses less than on per cent of battery per hour.

Geofencing to let you define a boundary around an area and that can trigger when a user leaves the area. Devs can set up to 100 geofences in the API.

Activity Recognition so that apps can track user locations using machine learning and the accelerometer. Be afraid, Fitbit: your phone just replaced the pedometer.

Signing in to apps on your computer with Google+ now gives you the ability to install the corresponding app on your tablet. You can now push apps there, and because you signed in on the web page, your tablet signs in automatically. That’s pretty nifty, but didn’t we just spend the last week saying how we hate corresponding website apps on our tablets?


17 billion Google Cloud Messenger messages are sent per day.

Google Cloud Messenger now supports persistent connections, upstream messaging (which got a cheer) and a new Google Cloud Messaging API for consistent notifications across devices: when you swipe away a notification in Android, it now does it acros all your apps. That’s great!

New Game Developer Services

“Today we’re announcing a new family of APIs for game developers…called Google Play Game Services.”

Looks like we were right on this one. Here’s what the new developer tools are and what they mean for users:

Cloud Save: lets you sync your progress so you can play across different devices from the same place.

Achievements and Leaderboards: to improve competition on the Google+ community, represented within your G+ Circles.

Player Matching/Multiplayer: Google will let people invite their friends, or let them find others on the network to play with. You invite people from your Google+ circles, so your mates better be into G+.

These game APIs will also be launched for iOS and Web so that Google Game Developers can keep their players up with games, cross-platform.


Google folk are trying to demonstrate Riptide 2’s multiplayer functionality. They’ve tried three times now and it’s not working. Super awkward.

The perils of live demonstrations…

Moving on!

These API updates will be rolling out today via an update to Google Play services.

Android Studio And Improved Developer Console


Looks like we’re getting new Android development tools, too. Google introducing Android Studio, based on IntelliJ. We’re getting a demo of that right now.

Pretty much non-stop applause in this section. It has a lot of great developer features that make coding Android apps easier.

There’s also a feature that lets you preview what your app will look like on different screens. Not exactly a fix for fragmentation, but it’ll help a bunch.

Google pledges to add more and more services into the IDE so that you can build cool stuff right in without leaving Android Studio.

Uh-oh. Hugo lost his teleprompter. Good thing he’s leaving stage in a sec.


Ellie Powers is here to talk monetisation. She’s not wearing Glass either, by the way.

The new Developer Console will encourage devs to do stuff to make their app more attractive on the Play Store.

There’s a new App Translation Service! It lets you get professional app translations in the Developer Console so you can localise your app for other countries. A translation from English to Russian shows you a list of vendors and the cost estimate, making translation much simpler.


This is more of a developer conference than ever. Fewer shiny gadgets, more services on the back-end to help devs make better apps for us. That’s still a good thing!

Still: if there’s no Glass availability, we riot.

Last year, people skydived out of a plane and landed on the Moscone Center wearing Glass. We had to wait about two hours for that though. Definitely stay tuned.


Beta testing and staged roll-out are going live today. That’s better for devs to test their apps. Nice!

That’s Ellie done. Hugo’s back and hopefully so is his prompter.


Chris Yerga, the engineering director for Android, is now up to talk about something “more playful”. What could it be?

Google Play Updates


OK, we’re getting some updates to Google Play now. stuff is now being recommended based on your usage, +1s from your Circles and stuff you have looked at.

Discovery for tablet apps is being improved: applications that are designed for tablets will now be visible from the Top Paid Apps and Top Free Apps chart.


Time for music updates! Does Google have a Spotify competitor?

Google Music: All Access

“What if we gave you access to millions of songs from our store along with your Cloud Locker music, and use the power of Google to recommend you music.”

It’s called Google Play Music: All Access, and it’s Google’s subscription music service.


Anything you listen to on Google Play Music: All Access can be created into an instant radio station. You can look at tracks coming up, reorder them or just leave it and listen. “Radio without rules,” Google says.

Your Cloud Locker music is displayed alongside the stuff you can play from All Access.


There’s also a service called Listen Now, which looks at stuff you’ve played, makes recommendations of new stuff from your tastes and Google’s music curators, and it puts together radio stations so you can listen fast.


All Access is also going to work on web browsers as well as tablets and smartphones.

All Access launches today in the US, and it’s $9.99 per month in the US, plus there’s a 30-day free trial.

We don’t get it in Australia just yet, but it’s coming to “other territories” soon.

Hugo is back, talking about devices.

The New Galaxy S4

Hugo pulls out his Galaxy S4, and shows off stock Android 4.2 Jelly Bean running on the device. It’s the same version that runs on Google’s tablets, optimised for

Interestingly, rather than give a new Nexus phone, Google is selling an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 from the Play Store in the US only. The bootloader is unlocked, it runs stock Android 4.2 and it gets updates fast. Coming late-June for $649. There’s going to be a freaking run on these S4s.

Chrome And Chromebooks And The New Mobile Web

Sundar is back after some applause and a video, and we’re now talking abut Chrome.

Monthly active Chrome users now sit at 750+ million per month.


Now to Chromebooks:
For 190 consecutive days, the Samsung Chromebooks has been the top-selling laptops on Amazon. The Samsung Chromebook launched 200 days ago now.

Talking about the Chromebook Pixel now, and we’re apparantly going to here a lot about Chrome OS “later this year”.

So that was all just a tease, then…?


We’re an hour in. What have you liked so far? Tell us in the comments!


We’re now looking at how Google can help change the mobile web the same way Chrome changed the web experience. We’re looking at an awesome interactive map of Middle-Earth for The Hobbit.

Amazingly, Google just shifted that experience to the tablet, and it looks amazing.

WebGL is set to drive games in Chrome to make tablet games via the web possible.


Linus Upson, VP of Engineering for Chrome is here to talk about new mobile web APIs. We’re back to being a dev conference.

Linus is telling us he wants to improve speed, stability and security on Chrome mobile.

We’re now talking about JPEG vs WebP: a new standard for online images, and H.264 vs VP9 for online video.

I always think about this XKCD comic whenever people start talking about new standards:

Source: XKCD

XKCD aside, however, VP9 video support means that videos are often half the size they usually were. YouTube will roll out VP9 support this year, which means that all those cat videos will take up less space on your data plan.


There’s also a great feature coming to Chrome for Mobile that lets you restrict the data usage without losing information on a webpage. Nice for those bill-aware folks.


Google also wants to improve online payments, which is great, because buying stuff online is totally annoying.

Stores will now pull your information — with your permission — from your Google Wallet to make one-touch payments possible when shopping online with your phone.


We’re now taking a quick look at the g-app development toolkit for putting together great-looking Google Apps.


Another multiplayer demo, this time Google is showing off Chrome multiplayer on a game called Racer. It’s a slot car track run across five different devices, including an iOS device, so that people can play together.

That’s pretty impressive.

Linus leaves the stage, but not before showing a beautiful little film to celebrate 20 years of the web.

Free Stuff For Attendees

Sundar is back! We’re revisiting the Chromebook Pixel for a second.

That’s because everyone is getting one!



Lots of cheers for that one, obviously.

Google In Education

Chris Yerga is back to talk about the implications for Android when it comes to education.

Right now, 7 out of the 8 Ivy League schools use Google Apps. Dartmouth gets a call out for not having it. Awkward.

iOS has a big foothold in the classroom right now. Let’s see if Google can crack that nut.

Teachers complain about device cost, availability and educational content, so Google’s new initiative is to get Android tablets to kids.

There’s a new Google Play store for education that we’re now getting a look at. It’s organised by subject matter and grade level. Plenty of different sub-sets in here for maths, english and science.

There are also books and educational YouTube videos that you can push to different groups of students instantly.

Google Play for Education should go live from September (Fall/Autumn in the US).

Sundar’s back, with more about Chromebooks in education.

Last year alone, over 1000 schools in the US were using Chromebooks. 2000 have been added this year alone around the world.


We’re now about to hear from three teams, including the Maps team, about how they’re making the Best Of Google better.

Google+ Updates


Vic Gundotra, the head of G+ is up.


41 new features are coming to Google+ today, including new stream, new photos, new hangouts.


Vic is saying that Google+ wants to fix the “flatness” of the Google+ feed. They’re redesigning the feed for design and depth.

Rolling out from later today is the new Google+, which looks like this:

It looks like a beautiful social newspaper!

When he spoke about depth, he meant that it’s tough to go deeper right now on something you care about. That’s why there are new “related hashtags” coming.

Talk the San Francisco Giants team, for example. Google automatically tags these topics, and now it’s searching and ranking the content for you so that you can see a card flip over in Google+ to see more about these subjects and related subjects to that particular posts.

Take another example: there’s a photo of the Eiffel Tower which has no words on it, but Knowledge Graph and image recognition knew what it was and automatically hashtagged it so you can keep exploring.

New Hangouts Messaging App


Google is talking about new Hangouts. Looks like it wants to transcend operating systems with its new update.


There’s a new app called Hangouts. It shows you a list of conversations rather than contacts with individuals and groups. You can start new hangouts with people with one tap.

Your conversations will now be stored, so you can have a chat with a group that lasts for ages, like your family.

It’s a very well animated window that shows you who is typing and where they have read to.


Web, Android and iOS compatibility for the new Hangouts app, all coming today.


Interestingly, there’s a group video feature which Google says is “no charge”. Not sure what that means for Australian data plans, but don’t ever assume something is free.

Google+ Photos


We’re now talking about new Photos on Google+. Google says that a lot of people don’t have the time to upload and edit photos, so it wants to save you time.

It wants you to upload your photos to Google’s cloud and use it as your darkroom.


Ok. This is scary. Google will now let you upload a bunch of your holiday photos and leave them there. What it will do then is look at the good images, eliminating the blurry ones, picking out landmarks, eliminating bad exposures, analyses smiles and aesthetics, too, so that it can pick out highlights for you and post them automatically.

That’s incredible and terrifying.


Google is today introducing Auto Enhance to automatically improve your photos.

Here’s a before and after image, and what it does to improve it.



Yes, it’s goddamn amazing, but this will piss off soooooo many people, mostly photographers who put far too much value in their own photos. You’re going to want to be able to control how Google adjusts your photos.


Say for example you take a bunch of photos in Burst mode, all around the same time. Google is going to automatically add motion to these photos and animate them into a GIF. These are going to be turned on later on today.

Other “auto-awesome” features include automatic collaging of portraits, automatic HDR of bracketed images, reconstructed images of everyone smiling and automatic stitching for panoramas. I can’t wait to see how those panorama stitches go wrong.

The New Google Search

Now we’re talking about improvements to Search with Ahmed Single who wants to chat about “The End Of Search As We Know It”. Bold.

I do love all of these I/O graphics.

Knowledge Graph is soon going to put statistics and graphs into search results, allowing the Knowledge Graph to predict your next question, like comparing the populations of different countries for example.

Knowledge Graph will also roll out today for Polish, Turkish, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese speakers.

Google wants to give you even more answers, too. It doesn’t want you to have to sift through email, calendar or docs. You can ask Google for your trip plans, your package info and your holiday photos. That means Google is doing some hardcore search and indexing of your information to get these answers.


Google is announcing improved conversational search for desktops and laptops through Chrome.


The microphone icon in Chrome now includes hotwording: you don’t have to click the mic to search, say ‘OK Google’, much like you would with Glass, and get your search up.


Now we’re talking about Google Now. We’re getting new Cards today! You can set reminders for yourself on Now. Public transit commute time cards, Books, Video Games, TV Shows and Music Albums will also be featured on new cards.

Johanna wright, VP of Search and Assist is up now talking about prediction via search results.


So Hotwording in Chrome desktop looks pretty hot.


So after a detailed look at how cool Google Now is these days, we’re wrapping up our Search portion.


Here’s when all that awesome Search stuff rolls out.


Glass was finally referenced by name; the first time in this presser.

Google Maps


Here we go.

Brian McClendon talking about the future of Maps. Can’t wait!


Google has 200 countries on Maps. *waves at Australia*

Now it has North Korea. Wow.


Google Australia’s work getting the Great Barrier Reef working on Street View is getting a good call-out. Well done, you Aussies.


Ok, after a brief history lesson Daniel Graf is here to give us a look at the future of mobile maps.

Starting with a dig at Maps on iOS. Of course.

So here’s what’s new in Maps for mobile.

A new look and feel with more 3D building data:

Zagat data is in Maps more prominently, and of couse, Google+ recommendations from friends:

New offers being pushed to Business Pages:

Live coverage of incidents like crashes and traffic, as well as dynamic re-routing in turn-by-turn navigation:

A new, dedicated tablet Mapps app, that supports indoor maps and enhanced discovery and exploring:

All this Maps goodness is coming in the US summer, so expect it before August.


So where to next with Maps? Google is promising to re-invent Maps for the future. Bold, again.


Ok, this is the customised maps we heard about late last night. Google is promising personalised, immersive maps with a new UI.

The New Google Maps


Google has rebuilt Google Maps from the ground-up. This is the new Google Maps:

Personalised maps will work a lot like synchronised bookmarks. Stuff will be synched onto your map called Landmarks. It’s all the places you’ve been to most. The restaurants, train stations and strip joints.


It’s amazing just how much value we invest in a mapping product, isn’t it?


This is interesting. Directions search now includes a schedule viewer so you can see how long you’ll be driving, walking or taking public transport for:

Google Earth also works automatically in a browser now, and it looks beautiful.

Photospheres are now also uploaded to Google Maps (if you want), and Google is going to demo these photospheres with Oculus Rift and Leap Motion at Google I/O.

What’s really amazing about Maps is the detail. These clouds are now real-time and you can zoom out to see real time positioning of the Earth and real time night lights:


That’s all working in a browser with no plug-ins. Awesome.


You can use the new Google Maps today if you’re in the room, or you can sign up for a preview here.

Sad Larry Page

It’s Larry Page! In all his croaky goodness. Poor guy. Get well soon.


Larry isn’t wearing Glass, but he is carrying a notepad, holding a wireless microphone talking about his Dad and how he got him into a robotic computing course when he was very young. Larry’s Dad sounds awesome.


Larry sums up this year’s I/O perfectly:

“We should be building great things that don’t exist”

–Larry Page

Larry: “Computer science has a marketing problem. We’re a curmudgeon. That’s why we got involved with the movie ‘The Internship’.”

That makes sense, we’ll have a review of that movie soon, no matter how bad.


After three hours of keynotes, there’s no Key Lime Pie, no Glass availability and now we’re taking open questions, starting with Glass fanboy Robert Scoble. This just took a turn.

Hugo Barra just posted his official I/O 2013 blog post.


Larry page is sad, you guys. He doesn’t think we’re all doing enough to improve the world via technology and engineering.


There’s no skydiving this year, just a CEO Q&A, which can be just as risky.

After 30 minutes of Q&A and sad-Larry, we’re just about to wrap up. This is the opposite of “one more thing…”

And that’s a wrap! Hope you enjoyed our coverage of Google I/O 2013. We’ll be posing news throughout the morning.

What did you enjoy that came out of I/O? Anything that we didn’t see that you wanted?

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