Google I/O 2014: Recap and Thoughts

Discussing Android L, Material Design, and Android Everywhere from this year's Google I/O

It's only been day one of Google's yearly developer conference, but typically a lot of the major products and updates are announced at the keynote. As both a tech geek and a developer, I was excited about all the things that were shown today, so here's a recap and my thoughts.

Image of Android L Developer Preview shown on devices
Android L Developer Preview shown on devices

Android L and Material Design

We still don't know what the "L" will stand for (Android Lollipop?), but the demos showed a new interface and some small features. The new interface is part of Google's new Material Design initiative that will be used across their products (including Web and Chrome). Interesting enough, you can start using Material Design on the web with Polymer. I wonder if developers will actually start using Material to build web apps, but I'll definitely experiment with it in some way. Regardless, a consistent UI is nice.

As far as the features go, I'm most excited about the new runtime (ART) that will improve performance, the battery-saving mode, and the overhauled lockscreen notifications. The biggest "feature" of Android will probably be the fact that you will have it on your phone, watch, TV, and in your car.

Android Everywhere

So speaking of watches, TVs, and cars, Google respectively announced Android Wear, Android TV, and Android Auto. Both the LG G Watch and the Samsung Gear Live are already available on the Play Store, but I'm still waiting on the Moto 360 as it looks to be the most well-designed of the 3. Wear watches basically give you a way to get notifications on your wrist, but you can also do voice commands and make quick replies. I do still like my classic Pebble watch, but I am due for a nicer looking and more integrated watch.

There's not too much to say about Android TV and Android Auto. TV is similar to Amazon Fire TV, Roku, and so on except with Google integration. I already liked the way that Google TV was done (we still have a Sony Internet TV in the house), but not everyone will agree. Android Auto allows you to essentially mirror your phone's functions to the car's display, and get Google Maps navigation, music controls, and voice actions. Most of the car manufacturers are in on it, so we'll see how soon cars start rolling out with Android integration.


There was some other news, such as being able to edit Microsoft Office files in Google Drive, Google Fit Platform, and Android apps soon to run on Chromebooks. Obviously all the new Android stuff overshadowed everything else.

I don't plan for this blog to be a news site of any sort, but from time to time I will post something either tech related or something that I get really excited about. I hate to wait for Android L and the Moto 360, but I'm glad to see Google I/O being full of updates this year.