Google IO 2013: some highlights from day 1

Misja Alma

Today was the first day of the Google IO conference in San Francisco. I was lucky enough to be able to attend so I can share some (personal) highlights of the day.

In the keynote Google showed some of their latest developments:
It is now possible to upload a batch of pictures to your online storage and let Google decide which are the best ones to keep. For instance when you've been on holiday and have taken 600 pictures, too many to show to anybody, Google can propose a selection after doing some intelligent analysis:
It can filter pictures if they are dupicates or if they are unclear. But it also recognizes if pictures contain some of your (Google+) relations, which would make them more interesting. Even more cool: with the help of some machine learning and a lot of training, Google can now estimate if a picture is pretty or not.
Another cool feature: Google will recognize if you have multiple pictures of the same person in the same scene. Based on some intrapolation algorithm, it can generate new pictures in that scene. Some examples were shown and they were actually really good.

Voice recognition was added Chrome (desktop and Chromebook only) so you can give spoken commands to let it do searches. Not really new, but what makes it special is that integration was added with Google Knowledge Tree, a giant graph database which contains semantic relations between entities.
What this means is that Chrome might understand what you mean when you say something like: "Send Misja an e-mail with the shortest route from here to Amsterdam". This does require that Misja is one of your Google+ contacts. Chrome will infer that 'here' refers to your current location.

And there were many more announcements. You can see the full keynote speech here.

In the afternoon there was a choice of about 60 different presentations. Obviously too many to watch or to describe. Here are a few brief highlights:

Google has added App Script support to Google Forms.
App Script support was already present in Gmail and Google Sheets and it enables you to write macro's or other logic in Javascript. The Javascript can access and manipulate the document you are working on, it can use all Google Api's and connect to databases.
Now it can also be used in Google Forms. Quite useful if you want to add form validation for instance.
You can try it out here

Google Compute Engine, Google's cloud service, has gotten some useful pricing options for small businesses. The cheapest one can host your application already for less than 2 cents per hour. There's not much use for buying your own server anymore if cloud computing becomes so cheap ..

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