Google I/O 2013

It’s interesting to see the tendencies in the tech media to play the event down. Surprise that there’ll only be one keynote. Rumblings that there won’t be any new Nexus device during the event and that Key Lime Pie (Android 5.0) will be pushed out to the fall. Which leaves open the question of what they will actually present. The reporting on the event is really all over the place… it’s clear that the media haven’t got a clue what will actually happen, other than we will get more Glass talk.

My personal wishes for I/O are pretty trivial.

I’m hoping they announce Android apps for Chrome OS/Chrome. Interestingly, Google have just a few days ago created a new space in their Chrome OS webstore for “packaged apps”; i.e., Chrome OS apps that act like normal applications (i.e., launch in a separate window). On the other hand, if they do have plans to roll out this kind of cross-over functionality, Google has really kept it under massive secrecy so far, so probably this won’t happen.

The other thing I’m hoping (still - been several years now) is the rollout of a Google Games network for Android with integration into G+. It’s been >2 years since Gamecenter came out, even Amazon understands that you need something like this (although they - stupidly - limit Gamecircle to Kindle devices); it’s incredibly that Google has so far failed to meet this obvious need - especially given their attempts to make Google+ a competitor to Facebook.

There are actually some indications that this may be coming. There are quite a lot of Android Gaming sessions at this year’s IO - more than I’ve ever seen before, in fact - and they contain talks with such tantalizing titles as “New Developments in Mobile Gaming”, “Level up your Android Game”, “Mobile Multiplayer Made Manageable”, and “Advanced Game Development Topics” on Day 1 of Google IO, with a lineup of very interesting speakers (Google+ and Play services engineers). If they don’t present something Games + Social related, I am going to be very, very disappointed.

Then again - no doubt I will be, having written this.

Anyone else looking forward/hoping for anything in particular to come out at Google I/O?

They almost certainly will have a replacement for the nexus7 and introduce a LTE nexus4. They will intro their new universal messaging service too. You may be right about delaying 5.0, but in that case they’ll just talk about incremental improvements in 4.3.

I think we probably won’t see a flagship motorola phone. If they do intro a motorola phone it will be carefully interpersed with samsung, HTC, etc, devices and not called the nexus, although it will use stock android.

They need better sistem stability expecialy after updates.

When is it?

Two weeks - May 15.

When I was briefly at Google after they bought the company I was working for, I exchanged some email with the Plus games product manager, because I couldn’t believe how awful it was.

I have little hope they will improve any aspect of gaming for any Google property unless Sergey gets personally involved, and I get the impression he tends to be hands-off on anything that’s not one of his own projects.

Ugh; don’t say that. Let me at least live with the hope that they’ll finally get a clue until the 15th.

Well maybe the Android stuff is different; but I wouldn’t hold out much hope for Plus, anyway. Last time I checked, their home-grown “flood-it” game was the only one that was actually playable (and it’s a tiny little toy); everything else was some kind of Zynga crapware or a clone thereof.

Yeah, it’s absolutely absurd that nothing like this exists yet. I figured they had just written it off as the province of 3rd party software (OpenFeint/Gree), and have no intention of ever doing it.

Problem is the 3rd party providers are mostly terrible (I’ve looked into quite a few) and inevitably link into Twitter or Facebook as their social services. I don’t think I’ve yet seen any of these framework (or even Backend As Service providers, other than Google’s own App Engine) that makes use of a Google log in - which is just an incredibly omission for games and apps on Google’s own platform.

They actually had a larger raft of developers signed on for the game section of plus early on, but the numbers were so bad that several signed off. Just as well, however, as most of the games published for these platforms are exploitative, stupid, and generally just horrible to play. It’s a pity because they had the opportunity to spend some money and commission some decent games for a change, but they just went with the usual match-3 bubble bursting crap and the usual fake-RPGs with rubies and gold pieces available for cash to accelerate play for a mere $500 a shot. Evidently gaming is a sort of tidal pool of stagnant ideas left behind by the usual wave of Google innovation :)

I don’t think anyone really cares about G+ games, as such. What’s wanted is an Android game API that gives you the kind of stuff Xbox Live does, and which would presumably use G+ as your friends list.

Yeah, well, that seems unlikely too, because whoever it is who came up with the crappy games implementation will be the owner for any such kind of integration. But I suppose if someone in Android thinks it’s important enough they could go up higher in the chain.

Pretty much. GameCenter for Android. The G+ integration is already in the OS, so a good implementation wouldn’t even require the user to input username/passwords (just authorize) to hook up to whatever Circle you’d add your gaming friends to (wonder if Amazon picked the GameCircle name specifically to mess with G+). IMO, one of the big reasons that gaming has difficulty taking off on Android is due to this issue. Social features drive better monetization for games, provide better discoverability for new games than the +1 button (you can see what your friends are actually playing, not what they recommended 16 months ago), and reduces development/deployment costs for the developers. It’s a glaring lack in Google’s Android strategy.

The main alternatives are companies like Gree - who shut down OpenFeint with less than one months warning - and Scoreloop, who are owned by RIM. Neither are really networks that Google can be particularly satisfied with having as their “social games” network on Android (one is so bad that including it will actually give you bad reviews, the other works for Blackberry). There is Swarm, but that still has a long way to go…

But we’ll see what turns up in a few weeks. There have been leaks of source code suggesting that we may be seeing a multiplayer platform presented with integrated leaderboards, achievements, notifications and pre-game and in-game chat. If true, that would be absolutely fantastic, but I’ll believe it when I see the code examples on

Google hires chief game designer for Android Play Studio.

Has anyone heard whether they will be releasing a new Google Nexus tablet at this event? I’m getting ready to pickup a second tablet, but I am holding off until I find out.

There are rumors of Nexus 7 being refreshed, but even if they don’t announce it here is sure to come out soon, the product is almost a year old.

It would be nice to see if they manage to cram a Tegra 4 chip in their new iteration. The Tegra 3 is pretty amazing for 3d gaming.

PowerVR is pretty amazing for 3d gaming ;)

Completely un-concrete rumours about a new Nexus 7.

Yep, if it comes in at $199 with 16GB storage, 2GB RAM, and a 1920x1200 screen it will remain an excellent competitor.