Yesterday Timothy was at Google I/O watching the keynote but there is still plenty of announcements on day two. Today's first big theme: Chrome. Tim reports: "Brian Rakowski VP for (and inventor of) Chrome, shows device transferability among devices of tabs, bookmarks, with a multi-part contrived story, looking at his opened tabs from home and work, etc. from a phone running Chrome. Not only can open tabs from there, but (and this is cool), 'we've made sure the back button works as well.' So you can open a page from a different computer, and have the browsing history of that tab as well. This Chrome syncing affects settings, bookmarks, etc. Also, for those transferred tab pages, pre-loading! So when you click on a tab, it's been loading and now should be read, BAM." As before we'll be updating the story live (below the fold) with his updates as they stream in.Update: by Sam : And now the big One More Thing from Rokowski: iOS version is here. "Later today, Chrome will be rolling out in the Appstore." Works as it does on other devices -- nicely draggable, etc. "Makes browsing the web on your iPhone really fun." After showing iPhone, says "While we were at it ..." And Yep, on the iPad, too. More space to work with there.
Shows that syncing works here, too: his other devices' tabs and bookmarks are all listed. And (nice); credentials, too, are synced and auto-filled across devices. So a NYT login can work if you were logged in to it on an another device, even if you've never logged in there on the one you're using now.
Incognito ("a feature near and dear to my heart") works, too: Scattered laughter at "I hope you find that using incognito on a touch device is a great experience."
Going Google: Pichai talks up the use of the Google Apps infrastructure, throws out some stats for adopters: Govt. agencies in 45 states, 66 of top 100 univs, and over 5m businesses. A few cute commercials follow: a business meeting via Google, and a few funny examples of multi-person collaboration (Hall and Oates coming up, word by not-quite-right word, with the line "Oh, oh, here she comes, she's a man eater").
Next big topic: Google Drive. Example shown of searching text stored on Google Drive, from an iPad -- for the words "certified mail." Only, and this is the applause point, those words weren't stored as text: they were in a scanned document, which Google has OCR'd.
More applause for the next step: "It works for things that aren't even text." Searches for "pyramid," knowing he has some pictures taken in Egypt (but not tagged or labeled); up comes the pyramid he was looking for, also automatically tagged for content just based on the image itself. it's a demo, but even with the skepticism that should invite, it's impressive.
Demo next of showing multiple logins to Google Drive (hard to not call it Google Docs); shows that updating on a laptop instantly, smoothly updates the same document open on a phone's screen.
And, bigger news: Google apps now work offline. (Hoots of joy from the audience.) Gives an example of working offline (unplugs ethernet, shows New York Times is unreachable as proof), saving, closing Chrome, reconnecting to a network, and on network reconnection, the offline changes are pushed, synced across devices.
Works on Windows, Mac, iOS, ChromeOS, "all your devices" says Pichai. What about Linux? Editing docs work, and ChromeOS has Linux core, but what about Ubuntu, Red Hat / Fedora, etc? I'd like these to be 1st-class options.
Chromebook updates: "We're very excited by the new model we're working on" -- 3x faster than early Chromebooks. Also, as of today, to be available in retail outlets, in particular at 100 Best Buy locations "all across the country."
Google's 1st VP of engineering Urs Hoelzle, talks about App Engine, says "we want to give everyone out there the kind of infrastructure we have at Google." Throws out more stats: 1 million active apps; 7.5 billion hits/day. Announces Google Compute Engine: on-demand (Linux?) virtual machines. Screaming and standing from audience: "You haven't seen anything yet." His bullet points: "Scale, Performance, Value" are a bit business-pamphlet cliche sounding -- even includes the line "Passing these savings on to you." But neat stuff.
Compares in-house 1000-core cluster (more figures comparing cost would have been good) to 10,000 core, doing genomics research, finding likely matches in a large dataset. Instead of waiting 10 minutes between matches found by the algorithm, connected to virtual machines of Compute Engine, the displays illustrates with moving lines and clicks a new match ever few seconds.
A few minutes later, he reveals that a mysterious counter in the background (counting up, reaching large numbers) is showing the cores available to the genome research project of the first example. Switching back to that, the illustrated matches are now clicking like castanets, the lines per-match are filling the display.
Back to Pichai, Evolution of Chrome apps:
- always avaliable
- authentic app experience
- enhanced device access (this mostly for developers, of course.) Making sure that apps can access and use all the capabilities of the device they're running on.
Now, 2 performers from Circ du Soleil on stage, while images from their shows play in the background; I wonder where this is going to go.
Demo is a preview: a surreal game / VR world with complex, photo-realistic gymnasts and layers of flowers moving in 3D space, built in HTML with CSS animations / filters. Fast; the high-res video, controlled in real time by using a camera -- user turning head, or shifting body, serve as controller. "Wonderfully portable" -- works just as well on a tablet, vs. a conventional browser.
Says casually that this is running on a Chromebook -- that I think should have drawn big applause, but didn't.
New Chromebox flashed on screen, Pichai exits rather abruptly with a plea for the gathered developers to keep making cool apps, and now ... on video, we're back to the same rooftop where yesterday wing-suited skydivers landed on the roof. Sergey is wearing his Glass headset, and they switch occasionally to his (low rez, view). It looks like they're going to repeat the jump, but with more explanation: Sergey is walking around the roof, demoing how they tracked those jumpers and maintained network connection to their transmitted video -- looks like around a dozen people wrangling parabolic antennas at the edge of the roof, trying to catch those signals. In the background (this is much cleaner than Caligula, but nearly as extravagant), the trick bikers are rolling around the roof, warming up with small tricks. :For those of you in downtown San Francisco," he says, "this would be a good time to peek out your windows."
We're occasionally switched to a view of the inside of the blimp, and another shot of the outside, and are promised a countdown. 30 second count-down about to start. Lucky, they say, that the fog is holding back.
The starship Heart of Gold! They're in the air, to massive applause, flying and weaving ... the 3d chute opens, with a puff of smoke; Sergey provides an explanation -- that gives a cue for the folks with antennas about how to aim them. One chute down! All chutes down; Camera following around Sergey falls, he makes a wounded sound "awww!" but it's picked up quickly. Or wait, was that his Glass headset that fell? Maybe so. Now he's switched to the sun-glass version.