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Google I/O Predictions
This Wednesday starts Google I/O, their annual developer's conference. Ironically, the stuff that they'll announce has been shrouded in a lot more secret than Apple. Rumors include a native Pinterest app, five Nexus devices (at least one tablet) to be sold by Google, Project Majel, and Android 4.1, Jelly Bean.

Here are my predictions for a bunch of Google's products.

Jelly Bean
There'll be more Google integration. More stuff will be able to be synced within the Google ecosystem. Maybe alarms will be synced, or stuff like that. I'm sure that Google Drive will have a stronger presence in Jelly Bean as a simple way of keeping files. 

More APIs will be introduced into Jelly Bean to combat PCs along with Windows 8. For example, USB support may be improved. You might be able to plug your camera into your phone and post photos straight to Facebook without ever touching a Windows device. That would be pretty powerful.

Project Majel will also be showcased as part of Jelly Bean. Google's answer to Siri has been rumored about for a while. What it'll do isn't known, but it'll be a definite step up from Android's voice actions and will probably have an API to boot. The idea seems pretty ambitious. Majel is named after the voice actress who was the on-ship computer in Star Trek.

The biggest problem with Android today is upgrades are slow. When Google is done with it, the upgrades then have to go through the manufacturers and carriers before getting to your device (if ever). I think Google will address it at I/O. Nexus devices, running vanilla Android, will get rid of the time manufacturers spend with lame skins. Competition may produce faster upgrade times, but Google may need to go even farther. We'll see.

Tungsten boxes were introduced last year at I/O, but there was never any update about them. It was a wireless protocol mixed in with actual devices. In the on-stage example, there were Android-powered speakers that would let somebody push music to a speaker wirelessly. My prediction is that this will finally be nearing primetime.

You'll be able to push information to speakers, Google TVs, anything on Android (probably running Jelly Bean).

Since Android is the kernel (along with Linux), app development will be pretty easy. Integration will also be easy. Much like Android intents, letting you share to any service, you'll be able to share to another piece of hardware with a simple button.

For example, you could send wireless information to a projector. Even more, instead of just copying the phone display, a developer could optimize the display to look good on the projector.

Since phones and tablets will also run Android, this could let you wirelessly share data between those devices directly without having to rely on cell service or wi-fi.

Android @ Home
Like Tungsten, this project was ignored after I/O, but the idea is cool. Google may want to drop the project to focus on the increased competition, but I think that the workers at Google are too geeky to drop the idea of Android controlled lightbulbs.

I think that Home devices will work like Tungsten, but will be lower-powered, maybe not having all the same features. Nothing can be displayed, for example. You might be able to send an on or off message to a lightbulb, but for interested developers, you'll be able to create your own APIs and devices relatively easy, all within Google's ecosystem.

Another example is an Android alarm clock. You'll be able to sync alarms, music, and calendars wirelessly between your phone and clock. Then it'll alert you with your music, a very nifty idea.

To do this, there'll probably be some sort of event-driven syncing so these devices don't use too much power or bandwidth.

With Motorola now under Google's grasp, there will probably be more experiments in hardware. Google is now selling the Galaxy Nexus in their store, with rumors that more will show up.

My predictions are that the Nexus devices will include one phone, two tablets (7 and 10 inch), one Google TV, and a Tungsten device. Motorola may make one, but I think Google will try to keep the other OEMs happy as well and let them make a device too. Nexus devices are great because they run vanilla Android (no modifications) so they'll get updates sooner than other devices.

Google TV
I love my Google TV. However, it isn't perfect. Other than hardware issues (not very fast), and partnership issues (I can't watch Hulu and integration with the cable box is extremely limited), the UI isn't amazing either.

I think a Jelly Bean version will be shown off with improved UI and also using your data, will be able to offer suggested shows that you may like. Google+ integration will let you share stuff you watch, see discussions about shows, see what your friends watch, and also hangout with your friends on a giant display.

More Google Apps will be optimized for TV. Maps, emails, calendar, and more will be available on a giant display. It'll be great for business too, letting you show presentations with your phone hooked to your GTV via Tungsten.

You'll be able to rent movies and buy music in addition to apps via the store.

In terms of APIs, I think a sort of DVR API will be pretty useful. Your Netflix queue will show up alongside other apps that have stored videos. Being able to access all your content from one place is something that Google TV has a problem with right now, but a 'Google DVR' would be a killer feature.

Another killer feature would be streaming TV to your phone. However, I think copyright issues may prevent that from happening right now.

Although the browser is very solid on the desktop, I think the Android version could use some improvements. Adding Chrome extensions on the phone would be an epic feature. Also, desktop features like native client will be shown off for Android to make porting HTML5 games a lot easier for mobile. HTML5 and mobile haven't been too friendly with one another, but Google could definitely push that experience much further.

Chrome OS, as nice as it is as a lightweight laptop, will probably end up merging with Android. A cloud computer just isn't a viable device right now sadly, but it's a solid idea  that could be a lot better when merged with a full OS.

The only feature I can think of for desktop Chrome is dynamic sharing. You might connect your Facebook or Twitter account to Chrome and then share right from a button. This may just be implemented as extensions though.

YouTube is probably the smartest acquisition Google ever made. It's exponentially growing years after it was founded. The thing is that I can't think of much that can be changed. Google may include some more features and integration with Hangouts that will help improve YouTube live. Right now, it's not a very big feature of YouTube.

A Google+ API is the only thing that's keeping the social network back from success. It's solid. It's got awesome features. The community there, the people I've met, are very cool. However, it's had limited success to the general population. By introducing third-party apps, making that prominent within I/O, Jelly Bean, and all it's products, Google+ will have a great chance to take off.

I think Google may announce a few other things. Your calendar may become social. There was a leaked screenshot of Google+ Events. It's like Facebook events, although it'll work with your whole calendar, not just what's on Facebook. Not all events have to be social. You'll probably be able to set privacy levels just as easily as you can on Google+.
If all goes well, Google will be kicking butt at I/O this year. However, Apple, Microsoft, and many others are applying plenty of competition. The question is if Google can handle it. Can it?

#google   #googleio2012   #googleio   #android   #androidjellybean
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