Google I/O: What The Company Didn't Announce

Is there anything that Google didn't announce at the keynote of its Google I/O developers conference Wednesday morning? 

Google just unleashed a fury of new features for all of its properties today at the Google I/O keynote. We saw new developer features for Android, a variety of tools  and functions for the Chrome browser and OS, a boatload of pictures and communication features for Google+ (along with a redesign), the expansion of Google’s Knowledge Graph, new music, new maps for mobile and more. It is enough to make your head spin just thinking about how much stuff Google is doing these days.

But there were things we thought we might see from the I/O keynote that did not show up.

A New Version Of Android

We were almost certain that Google would at least provide a small new update to Android. Whether it was Android 4.3 Jelly Bean or Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie (or any mix thereof), how could Google go through an entire I/O and not update its most important platform? 

Android has seen 900 million activations. Google Play Android apps have been downloaded 48 billion times. Android has become a mature, stable platform. Google does not really need to push out new Android updates at a breakneck pace the way it has done in the past. Today’s Android news seemed more about helping the developer ecosystem and community catch up with the platform, to make their lives easier and make them more money. 

Hardly Any New Hardware

Google announced a new version of the Chrome Pixel for Chrome OS and a “Nexus” version of the Samsung Galaxy S4. 

We were not really expecting much in terms of hardware from I/O this year, but compared to 2012, the new gadgets were really sparse. Google did not announce a new Nexus device (because there was no new version of Android). That means no new smartphone or tablet, no updates to Google Glass, no set top box for your television and no smartwatch. 

No Major Upgrade to Chrome OS

Chrome was a major topic during the I/O keynote. Google featured the mobile Web, the Chrome Pixel and demoed HTML5 and responsive design features.

Yet Google did not do anything groundbreaking with Chrome OS. Google’s desktop operating system never really seems to take major jumps - instead seeing a constant stream of new updates and features. Chrome may not seem like it is evolving much on a day-to-day or month-to-month basis, but look back a year and you will notice that it is significantly different today than it was at last year’s I/O. 

Google Glass Makes No News

Google co-founder Sergey Brin did not make an appearance at all during the I/O keynote. Hence, neither did his pet project, Google Glass. After all the announcements on Android, Chrome, Search, Maps, Google+ and everything, Google's most-hyped new product these days got no mention.

Larry Page addressed a question from Robert Scoble on Glass at the end of the keynote, but that was about it. It seems that Glass is not a substantial part of Google's future. It is cool, fun, geeky, but kind of a side show.

 

Note, lead image by Nick Statt was altered to create an empty podium.