Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

Google I/O Day 2: Chrome for iOS, Cloud Computing and More Skydiving

Google introduced Chrome for iOS, offline editing for Google Docs, retail selling of Chromebooks at Best Buy, and Compute Engine on the second day of I/O 2012. And it reprised its ridiculous Google Glass live video skydiving stunt from Wednesday.

10:05 am: Things still haven’t quite kicked off yet, but ATD is here in force. Liz Gannes is on keyboard, with Mike Isaac on vocals and Ina Fried on bass.

10:06 am: Okay. Here we go. Google has a fun one-minute countdown, with numbers flying out at the audience.

Vic Gundotra takes the stage, wearing Google Glasses and another preppy sweater.

He says 2,600 people downloaded the new Google+ Android app, more than 1,000 activated “party mode,” and they contributed 13,700 photographs of Paul Oakenfold, Train and the revelry last night.

10:09 am: Now for Sundar Pichai, SVP Chrome and Apps. He says his team’s recent releases have been Chrome for Android, Google Drive and Samsung Chromebooks. What’s coming next are cloud products and developer tools.

For context, Pichai says: There are 2.3 billion global Internet users, and the big growth is coming from mobile. And 20 billion network connections are projected within four years.

As of today, there are almost 310 million Chrome users, with 60 billion words typed per day, 1 terabyte downloaded, and 13 years saved per day by typing in the “omnibox” to go directly to pages. That’s up from 160 million at I/O last year.

Pichai says there’s every indication that Chrome is now the biggest browser in the world.

Pichai: “For today’s Web, we want to make sure Chrome acts as a layer so that your Web is personalized, consistent and works seamlessly across devices.”

10:14 am: Now Brian Rakowski, VP Chrome, is up to talk about using Chome between all his devices. In the morning, he reads from a bunch of Chrome tabs on his MacBook; then he runs out the door; then at work he’s testing a Chromebook that he has never used before, and can sign in to start up with his settings and his bookmarked work tabs. (For some reason, the loading of the work tabs gets a small cheer from the crowd.)

Now Rakowski has — continuing with his hypothetical retelling of a day — looked up a lunch place, and is walking over, but forgot where it is. So, on his Android phone, he launches Chrome, opens a new tab, and it shows all his recent pages. If he opens the restaurant page, the back tab still works to the page he was on back at his desk.

For a bit more on where Google is taking Chrome, check out this post.

Now Rakowski is reading on his Nexus tablet at lunch, and he shows that pages are loaded in the background so they open quickly.

10:20 am: Here we go — news! Chrome is coming to the iPhone. Later today, Chrome will roll out in the App Store. Rakowski demos features like closing tabs with a swipe, and dragging tabs from side to side.

And Chrome is also coming out for the iPad, with tabs on top because there’s more space on the tablet.

He shows that his credentials — in this case, for the New York Times — are synced across devices, even though he’d never been to on that device before. Nice.

Also, Incognito works on iOS. Rakowski: “I hope you’ll find that using Incognito on a touch device is a great experience.” That gets a giggle.

10:24 am: Pichai back to talk about Apps, says Gmail has 425 million users. Ten million people are using Google Drive.

Consumerization of businesses is a powerful trend, Pichai says. Many businesses are “going Google” — governments in 45 states, 66 of the Top 100 U.S. universities and more than five million businesses.

The PC architecture is about the individual workspace, not collaboration, Pichai says. “You’re just not going to get there by using SharePoint or TPS reports.” Another giggle.

Interlude for some funny videos of people writing over each other in Google Docs.

10:30 am: Clay Bavor, director of product management for Google Apps, up to talk about Google Drive.

The point of the product is to make it easy to live your life in the cloud, he says. Starting today, Google Drive is available for Chrome OS and iOS.

He’s showing off searching through scanned documents with OCR. This is getting applause, but it was a feature of Google Drive at launch.

Bavor searches for “pyramid,” and gets a personal picture from a vacation to see pyramids, even though it wasn’t titled. More applause.

Drive on Chrome OS, meanwhile, is the file system, Bavor says. Everything is synced silently. He pulls up the same document on a smartphone, tablet and Chromebook, adds a lolcats pic and shows it popping up on all the devices. Couldn’t they have given him a demo buddy or two for this part?

Which brings him to a launch announcement: Starting today, Google Docs are available for editing offline.

He’s getting feedback from someone backstage in the body of his document, which is cute: “Once you’ve shown the feature, move onto the next thing!”

Now Bavor is showing apps in Google Drive. So far, this is all stuff that has already been announced, or that Google had said would be coming soon.

With the Google Drive integration that launched 10 weeks ago, Lucidchart users are creating three times more diagrams, HelloFax users are sending 25 percent more faxes, and SlideRocket users creating 3.5 times more presentations.

10:40 am: Pichai is back. He says end-to-end computing is what the Chrome OS journey is all about. A new operating system version comes out every six weeks. The newest Chromebooks are fast and smooth, with a new user experience. Again, we’ve heard all this before, but apparently Google thinks nobody was paying attention, and wants to remind its captive audience of 6,000 at Moscone.

As of today, Chromebooks are available in physical retail in 100 Best Buy stores across the U.S. Pichai had also said this was coming, but we didn’t know the retailer.

Still, we’ll take it: News!

10:43 am: Extremely early Googler Urs Hölzle joins to talk about infrastructure.

Google wants to share its network and datacenters, and launched App Engine in 2008.

App Engine now handles 7.5 billion hits per day. It’s the largest public NoSQL DataStore in the world, Hölzle says.

During a huge Japanese broadcast recently powered by App Engine, there was no impact on service.

You’ve told us you want virtual machines to run, Hölzle says. So he’s announcing Google Compute Engine, infrastructure as a service.

Institute for Systems Biology was a beta tester, Hölzle says. In its work to find relationships between genes, ISB wrote an App Engine app that connected to Compute Engine virtual machines. This kind of gene analysis requires a tremendous amount of computing. It used to take 10 minutes to see connections, but now every few seconds.

When Invite Media ported their ad server from “another cloud provider” to Compute Engine, they were able to reduce connection errors by a factor of 10.

As for the pricing: It’s 50 percent more computing per dollar than other cloud providers. That’s not very specific.

“10,000 cores — I think that’s really cool. But you know what’s really cool? We know that some of you need more scale. For computations that don’t need much I/O, we can scale much, much higher.”

In the ISB case, for example, there are 771,886 cores available to the app, as has been live-counting through the presentation. “What would you say to 770,000 cores available to your app?” Big cheers.

Hölzle shows the same ISB genome explorer computation on 600,000 cores. It’s really fast.

10:55 am: The Web platform is evolving faster than ever before, says Pichai.

Pichai is showing a high-performance, visually intense game being streamed live online to show the potential of Chrome Apps. Many gamemakers are participating, he says. The Angry Birds Chrome app alone has 140 million users.

Pichai invites two people from Cirque du Soleil onstage. It’s not skydiving, but that sounds pretty fabulous.

Oh, they’re in street clothes.

They talk about a project to bring Cirque du Soleil online to be interactive and immersive and to evoke emotion.

This is called Movi.Kanti.Revo.

The world is created in HTML, positioned in 3-D space using CSS, and very fast because of hardware acceleration, says the designer. What we’re watching is running on a Chromebook. Now we’re looking at the source code, which can be manipulated in real time as it’s running. The developer crowd here loves that we’re seeing some actual code.

You can manipulate the world just by tilting the Chromebook.

No word about when this will be available.

After a video that makes you feel all happy-sappy about the potential for the world and Chrome, Pichai says everyone here gets a Chromebox.

11:10 am: And … Sergey’s back on the roof.

He has his Google Glass on over a pair of sunglasses. There are bikers behind him doing tricks, and the airship is up above. Wait, are they just going to do yesterday’s trick again?

Brin says it’s hard to keep every camera in the Google Hangout because of the “challenging wireless environment.” The crowd laughs.

He notes that the Google Glass he’s wearing actually has “shade clip-ins.” (It is so awkward not to just write Google Glasses.)

So basically, we are reliving yesterday’s stunt with a behind-the-scenes view.

Brin is totally natural emceeing this bizarre and complicated sequence of events. Why isn’t he the public face of Google?

“Yesterday was really fun, but I was down in the auditorium,” Brin says. So, basically, we are reliving this so he can get a bigger thrill.

11:18 am: The wingsuits have opened into parachutes, and they’re about to land on the roof. Wow, that’s a tight landing.

When I wrote the intro to the liveblog, I said today’s keynote was “unlikely to match the aerial stunts of yesterday’s keynote,” but it turns out I was exactly wrong. They are just redoing everything step by step. Now onto bikes doing backflips on a ramp to get to a higher part of the roof.

(For a recap on Google Glass and what Google has and hasn’t said, check out our several posts on the topic.

Now we are watching extreme live footage of Sergey climbing stairs to get to the other side of the roof. Really.

11:25 am: At this point, I’m wondering how Google was planning to use this keynote time if its whole X Games/Rube Goldberg machine had been a failure. Would we be sitting through more recaps of products they launched in the past?

11:27 am: And that’s it. We were expecting more news about Google Maps — I guess not for today!


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