Hi Malte, was it your first time at a conference of this size?
That’s right. I’ve never been to a conference this big – with more than 7,000 attendees. It really was an impressive event.
What were your three days at the I/O like?
Most of my time I spent at talks and workshops as well as in the so-called sandbox tents, where I tested the latest gadgets and tools such as Google’s Tango, the Daydream VR headsets, and the new Android O. The sandbox spaces were also great to meet Google experts and get to talk to them.
In between sessions, it was easy to connect with other attendees as well, which I really enjoyed. Even after the sessions ended for the day, it was fun to stick around the premises. Google hosted a concert by LCD Soundsystem on May 18th, which was a great way to end day two. In order to be able to share all my I/O experiences, I took over the Ubilabs Twitter account for three days, which was great fun.
Which announcements were the most exciting for you?
At Google I/O there were more than 100 announcements all in all. I found it fascinating to see how Google is paving the way for the Google Assistant regarding all its products and projects. On day one, a considerable part of the main keynote revolved around Artificial Intelligence and the Assistant.
Concerning maps, one interesting announcement was the new Visual Positioning Service (VPS), which can be used for indoor navigation and looks really promising. In addition to that, the new Maps URLs allow the display of Google Maps via easily adjustable URL parameters, enabling users to start a navigation or show a panorama via a link.
Apart from the announcements, what were your conference highlights?
The conference was a great opportunity to meet the people behind the technologies that I work with every day. I had the chance to discuss the new Maps URLs with Joël Kalmanowicz, who is the Product Manager for the Google Maps APIs.
Another highlight was the general atmosphere of the conference. Taking place outdoors and in tents, it felt more like a festival. The after hour sessions with old school arcades, a VR cinema experience, and a concert added to that great festival atmosphere.
A personal highlight was the fact that I was able to extend my stay by a few days, taking a little vacation in San Francisco. That was a great opportunity since I’d never been to the city before. I explored the city by bike and was amazed how steep the streets really were, having only seen them on TV before.
Which insights you gained will be especially useful for future projects?
I attended several talks and workshops on the topic “mobile web”. Most of them focused on Progressive Web Apps. These are high-performance websites or web apps that make use of new browser features in order to feel like native apps, including key features such as offline support, home screen icons, or push notifications. I’m positive that our next projects will benefit a lot from this.
Last but not least: Will you be at the next I/O?
Sure :) It was a great experience!