Sunday, December 17

The 2010 Google I/0 Developers Conference

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The 2010 Google I/O (Innovation in the Open) Conference concluded in great success, with multiple new technologies and platforms being announced and showcased. This is the third I/O meeting held by the search engine kingpin, and it was one of the most interesting to date. Technogeeks and casual technology fans alike found something to gaga about, while other innovations have been labeled “controversial” among the developer community (such as the recently released VP8 open source codec). So, let’s get to the tech conference’s most important highlights:

Google TV

Although Web TV is already in existence, its usages are very limited toward viewing Youtube videos, reading text, and other basic Internet web pages. Google TVaims to change all of that. Google’s goal with this project is to create a fully-functional operating system in the television’s hardware, via their Android OS, that can do just about anything a normal computer can. This means that viewing any website, any Google TV application, or sites with Adobe Flash will all be available to the user. There will be two versions: the open source and standalone (for normal consumers, without widgets). There will also be particular support for popular social sites such as Twitter, Netflix, Youtube, and others. id=”zw-129017886a4IeWQC6294251″
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Android 2.2

Yes, everyone’s favorite mobile operating system is back and better than ever. The Android OS 2.2 (the successor to the 2.1) is the first mobile OS to showcase mobile Adobe Flash support. As many know, Flash powers the majority of online games, movies, and even some applications. Apple has repeatedly stated that Flash will never work properly on a mobile platform, yet the Android folks seem to think otherwise. USB support has also been layed out in the plans, which can be a very exciting step in the mobile phone market. The Android Market also recieved a makeover, allowing the user to update all applications in one touch. Some less notable features include an updated desktop GUI, the ability to store apps on the SD card, and bluetooth dialing. The Android 2.2 Operating System is already being sent as an update over the airwaves to Nexus One phones.

The Google Chrome Web Store

The Internet is filled with tons of innovative widgets, add-ons, and other open source content for the Web. The goal of the Chrome Web Store is to put all of those under one roof in an organized fashion with a secure payment system set up. It will be out later this year, only for Google Chrome users of course, but eventually will branch out.

WebM

Possibly one of the most controversial aspects of the 2010 conference was the open sourcing of WebM. Many people wholeheartedly believe that open sourcing any video coding will be near impossible and bound to fail. Others argue that it is one bold shot fired at H.264, which is free… for now. In 2016 (when H.264, the only high definition video standard available) its free license will expire, and royalty fees might start racking up. The video standard has the backing of over 40 big name companies from Firefox to Sony. Some giants, however, are missing, to include Microsoft and Apple. Why? Well, our good friends at Apple just happen to be on the board of MPEG-LA, which created the H.264 codec.

So, the shots have been fired, but the heavyweight MPEG-LA is currently stronger than Google’s liberal view of the Internet, and will be seeking to knock down companies who support WebM (and its VP8 codec). Perhaps, if MPEG-LA can shift enough uncertainty into the video market, the project might fail. WebM, however, seems to have the support of the developer community, some major corporations, and the Internet community. We will just have to see if corporate profits end up toppling Google’s vision of an open and free video format.

Sources:

– Ganesh T S, “The 2010 Google I/O Developer Conference Roundup“, AnandTech

– Erik Jensen, “Huge Announcements from Google’s I/O Conference Day 2“, The Flickcast

– Sam Dean, “Google I/O Conference Kicks Off With New WebM Video Format“, Ostatic

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