Yesterday at its I/O developer conference, Google unveiled a number of new products, including its first-ever Nexus branded tablet, but it kept a few announcements in reserve for day two. On Thursday morning, the company showed off a number of new tools and services, including iOS versions of its popular Chrome browser, offline editing capability for Google Docs and Google Compute Engine, a cloud-based super computer system for developers.
Google SVP Vic Gondotra took the stage at around 10:06 a.m., wearing a pair of light blue Project Glass goggles. He immediately thanked the crowd for a great first day and an even better first night party, where attendees enabled the new Google+ party mode and uploaded over 13,000 images of the event.
He then introduced Sundar Pichai, Google SVP of Chrome and Apps. Pichai started by recapping some of Google’s latest Chrome and Cloud releasees, including Chrome for Android and Google Drive. He showed a chart documenting the growth of the Internet, which now has 2 billion uses. He said that more users worldwide will be getting online via mobile and that’s the biggest growth area.
He then talked about Chrome browser, saying that the 3 year old application now has 310 million users, up from 160 million last year. He spoke about the speed of Chrome, saying that the ability to search from the Omnibox saves users worldwide 30 years of time every single day.
He then invited Chrome VP Brian Rakowski up on stage to talk about Chrome’s ability to work across different devices. “I use about 8 different computers on a regular basis,” he said. Rakowski then showed how Chrome synced between his laptop, another computer, his phone and his tablet. After logging off one computer, he logged into a new computer and showed how it even opened the tabs he had open on the previous system. A phone he logged into not only had his surfing history but also allowed him to hit the back button and go back to the page he had visited before.
He also unveiled the new iPhone and iPad versions of Chrome, which launch today. On the iPad version he was even able to reorder tabs by dragging them.
Pinchai then came back on stage and talked about businesses and institutions that have “gone Google” by using Google apps, including 66 of the top 100 universities and 45 states. He then showed a video about “going Google” with business people using Google features like Hangouts and docs.
He then invited Clay Bavor, Director of Product Management for Google apps up to talk about Google Drive. he first announced that Drive is, as of today, available on iOS and Chrome OS.
On the iPad, Bavor demoed Drive’s new optical character recognition ability by searching for text that only appeared in a scanned receipt he had in his drive. He was also able to find a photo of pyramids by just searching “pyramids” on his box. He then showed how easy it is to share Google documents with others using the iOS app.
Bavor then demoed Google Drive for Chrome OS, showing how it is the Chromebook’s file system.
Bavor then announced that, as of today, Google docs allows editing of text documents offline. He then disconnected his Ethernet, made some changes to a doc and showed how the changes appeared in the document after he reconnected. Offline Google documents is available as of today, with spreadsheet and presentation support coming soon.
He talked about the Google Drive SDK, announcing version two of the kit today.
Pinchai came back on stage to talk about Chrome OS, reminding us that last year the company launched its first Chromebook at Google I/O.
He said that, with the latest update to Chrome OS, the platform is now three times faster, has an app-centric interface and is called the “always updated” PC because it gets updates automatically. He then announced that Chromebooks will now be available at Best Buy.
Google Compute Engine
He then invited SVP of Infrastructure Urs Holzle on stage to talk about Google’s data centers, saying that the company had built one of the world’s largest collections of data centers and was looking for ways to share that computing capacity with users and developrs. He said that, in 2008, the company launched its App Engine service for developers to take advantage of Google’s infrastructure. He said that, in Japan, a company used App Engine to power the voting for a popular song contest with no slow downs.
He then announced Google Compute Engine, a new virtualization service that gives you Linux virtual machines any company can deploy. He gave an example of a science group that needed to run a task that took 10 minutes on their own servers, but only took a few seconds when deployed across 10,000 cores, using Compute Engine virtual clusters.
He also said Compute Engine delivers a great value, up to 50 percent more computing power per dollar than competitors. Compute Engine is now open in limited preview, he said. He then talked about the number of cores Google has available for processing and showed a counter with 771,886 cores that have been available to the Genome project since the beginning of the presentation. He then ran the same biology computation on 600,000 cores and it appeared even faster.
Pinchai then came back on stage and showed a visualization of how the web platform has evolved, a graphical time that went from the beginnings of HTML to today. He said the web is getting richer at a faster and faster rate.
He then spoke about APIs and how they lead to innovation from developers who take them and run with them right away. He then showed off a game called Bullet Storm that allows you to play a first person shooter right in the Chrome browser as an example of the kinds of innovation tha tare taking place. Pinchai said that Chrome developers will be able to make their apps available offline and break out of the Chrome window and run full screen.
He then invited Joanne Fillion and Aubrey Anderson from Cirque De Soleil on stage to show how they are developing for the web. She said that the company wanted to create a rich experience that goes beyond text and images. Anderson then showed off Cirque’s web app, which using standard HTML 5 and CSS, enables you to navigate an avatar through a beautiful virtual world, filled with 3D images.
Pinchai then showed a video about the history and “journey of Chrome,” from its origins three years ago. He then announced that he’s giving the audience members a Samsung Chrome box to test out everything that’s new with the browser and its OS.
Google then showed Sergey Brin on stage and we watched as he had his sky divers re-enact yesterday’s Project Glass sky diving, biking and repelling routine. Though he provided some additional commentary, we didn’t learn anything knew about the device or its capabilities.