Notes from Google I/O 2012

cowphysicistInternet and Web Development

Dec 4, 2013 (3 years and 6 months ago)


Notes from Google I/O 2012

Here are some of the major products/directions we learned about at the recent Google
I/O 2012 Conference Matt and I attended in San Francisco. In addition to attending
conference sessions, the two of us hosted a WorldMap-oriented sandbox (demo booth)
for a day and talked to perhaps 20 people who came by.

Maps at this conference were a side event to the main Android / Chrome / Cloud /
Mobile Devices extravaganza. It was a stimulating conference though with guys in wing
suits, robots rolling and flying around, and a gazillion developers talking to each other
and to hundreds of 3
party Google vendors. There were also some interesting and
important announcements (some map related) as described below.

Google Maps API new features
1) Heat maps -
These maps are client side and allow developers to define the color
spectrum, intensity range, and zoom behavior.
2) Powerful symbol handling – Check out the examples here:
“Unlike the image icons currently used for marking locations on a
map, a Symbol is defined as a vector shape. The size, stroke width, color, and
opacity of the shape, are all set by the Maps API application and can be
dynamically modified. A small number of shapes, such as a circle, are provided
by the Maps API, and custom shapes can be expressed as an SVG path.”
3) Public transit directions which includes number of stops and direction.

Google Maps Engine
Google is now selling access to their cloud for hosting spatial data.

These spatial layers can be relatively large datasets as in hundreds of megs. Maps
published this way can be accessed via the Google Maps API, Google Earth, and WMS
services. There are usage grants that we can apply for and I have a request in to a
representative about these.

Google is now using WebGL to enhance 2D and 3D map visualization when using
Google Maps on machines which support WebGL

You can use Chrome for MapsGL 2D but if you want 3D you need a graphics card that
supports 3D graphics

Google Compute Engine
Google has jumped into competition with Amazon for the virtual hosting market and it
appears they are undercutting Amazon on price. We need to look at their offerings
before going with Amazon for middle tier machines

So far Google is offering 4 machine sizes but will be adding both smaller and larger
sizes soon. Here is more info on the cloud services approach Google is taking.

Jelly Bean, New Android OS
Jelly Bean, the latest version of Android was released.
. This OS supports amazing
things like offline voice typing (meaning it has a voice recognition system small enough
to fit on a phone) and it is supposed to be much smoother than previous versions.
Because it can make use of GPUs it will be a powerful mobile mapping OS.

Google Nexus Tablet
A competitor to the Kindle Fire - small fast tablet running Jelly Bean and supporting a 12
core GPU and a 1.3 Ghz quad-core processor. So it can handle 3D graphics well. This
should run the latest MapsGL 3D enhanced Google Maps.

Chromebook and Chromebox
Google now has Chome powered netbooks and a computer that run the Chrome OS.
Chrome is Google’s open source cloud oriented OS that become complete when
connected to the web. Chomebooks are like laptops with no hard drive and everything
is done on the web. Chomeboxes are little Chome OS powered boxes that one can
plug one’s own keyboard and monitor into.

Google Glass
Google showed off Google Glass, an augmented reality device which one wears sort of
like a pair of glasses
. I
imagine this is a harbinger of the way we will eventually be interacting with information
and communications, etc. (including geospatial info of course) while out and about.

At the keynote address by Sergey Brin announced that a man in a wing suit riding in a
blimp above us would fly down to the conference center while wearing (and
broadcasting from) his Google Glasses. The glasses were eventually delivered to
Sergey with help from stunt bikers and a mountain climber. Everyone, including Brin
was a bit on edge until the parachute opened.

Nexus Q
A media streaming device. I will let you read about it.

Google was very generous to the conference participants and all received a Google
Nexus phone, a Nexus tablet, a Nexus Q, and a Chomebox! If anyone is interested in
playing with any of these gadgets please let me know.